Mmm, acne . . . 

Welcome back. I haven’t missed you.

I thought I left you behind with my teenage years and college finals.

Yet, here we are, mid 20s with an encore appearance.

I don’t know what it is about this pregnancy, but my skin has been acting all sorts of crazy.

The slightest touch makes my face break out, and my cheeks have been getting touched A LOT this past week. 

But while I haven’t missed it, I am not the least bit embarrassed about this acne.

In fact, I’ll actually be wearing it out proudly, because my kids are the cause of this acne. 

Not just the baby growing in my belly, but the two I get to snuggle and squish on the daily. 

My minions were driving me a little nuts this past week, but sprinkled throughout the hard, are precious moments of tenderness.

My two-year-old has been reaching up to stroke my cheeks every day for two weeks.

She asks “mum mum blanket?” Whenever we’re sitting on the couch together. 

She snuggles under and squashes as far up against me as she can manage without actually sitting in my lap because she’s all about independence these days.

We’ve had a rough time trying to work around naps and errands and potty and play dates, and there have been lots of tears.

But for every moment I’ve tried to comfort her, I feel like she’s been the one trying to comfort me.

As I wipe her tears and we try to work through her big feelings, she reaches out to stroke my face as if to say it’s OK mama, you got this.

My eight-month-old has decided that kisses (read open-mouthed slobber attacks) are his new favorite thing to give.

He headbutts me and proceeds to attack my cheeks when he first wakes up, when he feels he’s missed me, or just because mommy picked him up after a crawling around the kitchen to see what he can eat off the floor sesh.

He’s pulling himself up to standing, letting go, and trying to walk (please no) and with the territory comes a lot of little bumps and bonks.

Whenever I scoop him up in my arms, his tears and whimpering immediately cease and my heart skips a beat as he sniffles and signals to be put back down so he can try again.

I didn’t think I’d have to referee so young, but they play like wild cubs, chasing and wrestling and rolling around together.

When they take breaks, their favorite is to share mommy smushed up against my belly or my face.

It’s in those breaks, wrapped up in my arms, where I get to take a second and just stop and marvel at these tender-hearted little humans.

Their souls are so pure and full of unconditional love.

I make mistakes, I lose my patience, sometimes I am just so dang tired, but they love me anyways.

And acne or no acne, I would never discourage them from an opportunity to show that love. 

So out in public we go, with these bumpy little reminders of gentle affection and sweet memories on my face.

Originally published on the author’s blog 

Penelope Larsen

Penélope is a mama originally from the Dominican Republic. She grew up in Virginia and has lived in Hawaii and Idaho with her husband, and now their children. She aims to share positivity and realness as she navigates her motherhood journey.