Dear Mom, I’m sorry I hated your kisses

You see, after years of evading your affection, I finally get it Mom.

Dear Mom, I’m sorry I hated your kisses

The original essay by Natalie can be found on the Military Moms Blog.

Dear Mom,

From the moment I can remember, you have always kissed me goodnight, goodbye or even good luck. I have ducked, dodged, avoided and even (gasp) brushed off your kisses. They were a mushy show of affection that only a mother could give, and since I was a teenager, I have hated the impending doom of having a peck planted on my face.

I can still recall growing anxious thinking of creative ways to say goodnight without getting close enough to risk being caught in another kiss on the cheek. All of this makes me sound like a pretty terrible kid, maybe even an ungrateful daughter. But, let me assure you that my avoidance was not time wasted.

You see, after years of evading your affection, I finally get it Mom.

For the first time, I can truly put myself in your shoes and it has taught me a priceless lesson.

It’s difficult to imagine now, but I was once your delicate, precious, vulnerable little human who so desperately needed your love and protection. You gave up your sleep, your body, and your freedom to see to it that I was safe and loved.

You kissed me because you couldn’t help but have love overflowing so much that the physical expression of this love became your gentle kiss on my cheek. It wasn’t a choice you got to make, it was an instinct you had to follow.

As I grew up, eventually moved away, got married and we both aged several more years, your kisses turned into something of an endearing novelty. I actually began to appreciate that we had fewer of these kisses ahead of us than we had behind us and that was an emotional realization. Yet, even though I no longer fought off your affection, I still wasn’t fully on board with receiving it either.

Until late one November night, a tiny baby girl entered the world and when she was placed on my chest in that delivery room. I instinctively looked down at her downy baby curls and planted a long-awaited kiss on her precious little head.

It was the kind of kiss only a mother could give and that’s when it hit me.

This tiny being was the exact same thing I was for you decades ago, long before I grew an attitude, an opinion and my independence.

There it was—the veil of understanding was lifted in an instant. It took more than 30 years and finally having a daughter of my own to fully grasp the weight of what has driven you to love me all of these years.

I get that now. I truly understand. I just wish I had appreciated it sooner.

Looking back at our relationship through the lens of my newfound mom-perspective, I am struck with both joy and pain. I delight in the fact that I am following the same pattern of outpouring affection on my baby girl, as you still do for me. But, it pains me to think that one day she may recoil from my love as I once did to you.

I’m guessing this description isn’t far from what you once felt, and likely still do feel, for me? Is that why you still say, “Miss you” when we hang up from our calls, despite having just spoken the day before?

When will it end? Will I ever regain control of my senses and my emotions? Probably not, as evidenced by your enduring care, concern, and devotion as my mom even to this day.

As I stand on the other side of the divide between what I once believed and what I now know, I see the valuable knowledge that I will hopefully carry with me in the decades ahead with my daughter. If the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, she will more than likely start ducking and dodging my kisses one day (too soon I’m afraid).

But I also know that the greatest gift I can give her is the consistent reinforcement that she is loved beyond measure.

It’s ultimately not up to me, it’s my heart that’s leading the way, and I am at its mercy to try and keep up.

So, despite my many years of stubborn refusal, thank you for showing me how much I am loved and how to show that love to my own children.

I never knew something I hated so much could actually be something I loved.



P.S. I’m really sorry I hated your kisses.

Military Moms Blog is a national parenting website written by military moms for military moms. Our mission is to connect, support and uplift military parents around the world, including all branches of military, spouses, active duty and retired; to provide information and parenting perspectives unique to the military community, and to help promote businesses and brands that are perfect for the military family.

We are a collaborative blog that covers everything from moving, travel, employment and parenting to coping with deployments, finding military deals and navigating military acronyms. In short, we are the one-stop resource for moms raising kids while balancing military life.

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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