It was a total surprise, and it came about in a very unexpected way. Until that moment, I never really thought about it. Joel and I wondered when Eli would first utter, "I love you" on his own, but I never gave a moments thought to when he would first decide, on his own, to give a kiss.
A few days ago, it happened.
Eli was full of energy after several days of being cooped up inside. As usual, he was running laps around the kitchen island, then made a quick detour to the living room. We heard a "thump" and looked to see him laying on the floor the width of the doorway. Somehow, he fell and managed to hit the side and top of his head on the doorjamb. He had that high pitched cry that we rarely hear, the one that means he's really hurting, not just scared.
With lump already forming at his hairline, Joel swept him up and headed into the living room to cuddle him and calm him down. Fighting the momma instinct to grab him from Joel to comfort him, I went to the kitchen to get him some apple juice. When I came back, tears were still streaming down his cheeks, but he was a little more calm. I sat down, offering Eli the apple juice.
Eli, still wimpering, looked up at Joel, took the binkie out of his mouth, lifted his little chin, put his lips together, and leaned in towards Joel to give his Daddy a kiss, as if to say, "It'll be okay." Then he turned to me and put his arms out, motioning for me to pick him up. Joel and I were both stunned. Where in the world had that come from? Was he trying to comfort Joel, obviously sad that his little boy was hurting? Was he doing it to feel close and comforted? How do we NOT read compassion and kindness into it? We'll never know what he was thinking, but it we're thankful just the same.
What a beautiful and special first kiss.