Tuesday night as I was putting my big girl to bed I stopped and hugged her. I know that sounds weird, because come on, I hug her all day long, but what I mean is that I REALLY hugged her. I held her close to my heart, felt her hair brush my check, and smelt her sweet perfume of little girl sweat mixed with bath soap. And, she held on to me the same way she did when she was a wee one, not that long ago.
As we were embraced in this beautiful moment I whispered in her ear that she would always be my baby, that I loved her more then she knew, and that I never wanted her to grow up. Once again the tightness began to constrict my throat and I could feel those salty tears pricking from the corners of my eyes. This time I blinked those glistening gems back with a big smile for the sake of not having to explain to my innocent 3 year old how some tears are happy, some are sad, and others are a mix of bittersweet emotions.
When we finally pulled away, my sweet baby girl lifted her bright blue eyes to mine with tears outlining her tan little cheeks. I waited a minute or two and then gently questioned why she was crying. Giulietta shook her head swiftly and stated, "I'm not crying!" Maybe her adamant denial was due to fear of embarrassment, or simply because she didn't realize or understand quite why she was crying. However, I took her soft pink cheeks in between my palms and wiped away her little river while explaining to her that they were happy tears, not sad.
She lunged forward into one more warm embrace, and my heart smiled. My sweet baby turned little girl felt exactly the same thing I did at the very same moment...unconditional love, mixed emotions about growing up, and simplistic beauty.