Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Discipline of Cuddling.

i took this pic after she put herself to sleep for the first time

I have a new addiction. My old ones, including diet coke, BravoTV and catalog-browsing, are all still in tact. This latest obsession, however, actually yields a return for the time and energy I put into it. Each night for the last week or so I steal away. I disappear. My husband and dogs continue on with life as they know it while I sit in darkness, the darkness of my daughter’s room. To cuddle.

In the not so distant past I would dare not even think of rousing her for  fear that she might not fall back asleep, which may disrupt her night which would inevitably disrupt the next day and a vicious cycle would begin! 

Yes, I know, proper perspective has not always been mine as a young mother.

But now her sleep is deep and predictable, and my desire to hold her close outweighs my fear of waking her.  So each night I tread lightly into her room and scoop her up into my arms. She stirs a bit and then lays her head on my shoulder, fast asleep. 90% of her room is made up of hand-me-down pieces, yard sale finds and things made by hand, which I treasure. One of the exceptions is a plush, chocolate brown glider that looks like an overstuffed chair. It was our one splurge, and is the perfect spot for she and I.  She lays against my chest. I put my hand in the curls in the curve of her neck. And we cuddle.

When I was pregnant and at least once a week since she was born, someone with kids older than mine tells me to “enjoy it because they grow up so fast” or some variation on this sentiment. I nod and smile. It’s not that I don’t agree. Of course I do. What’s to disagree with? It’s tough to do sometimes when the days go by slowly.  There are moments when you think you may have actually collapsed into your child and  you have to pull back, delineate between you and them, for your sake and for theirs. But I also see the value in this whole idea of “savoring” their youth, their baby-ness

And so I wonder if, like all other things we aim to do but don’t always do and then regret not doing, if this kind of “savoring” requires some discipline.  I can’t just hope to enjoy my baby and future babies. I must make it a point.  A choice. A discipline.

Being disciplined is not in my repretoire of well-honed skills. I am more apt to fly by the seat, wing it, roll with it and go with the proverbial flow. But I do desire to live intentionally, as a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, a daughter, and ultimately as a child of God.  And so I will practice the discipline of cuddling. 

The darkness and the stillness, the rhythmn of the gliding chair, afford me not only a chance to savor my child, but a hiding place as well. A place not to hide from anyone, but to hide with someone, to sneak into quiet places where God has been speaking all along and I simply have not slowed myself enough to  hear Him. 

As I hold my daughter my whole being is pleased with her. 
I too am held. 
The goodness of Jesus blankets over all that is lacking in me.
He, too, is pleased with me.
His whole being is pleased with me.

My best attempts and greatest triumphs as a mother will always trail distantly behind the way I have first been loved. I am thankful for that.  I do not initiate love. I love in response , a reaction to an action.  And I want to love well, to steward well all that is mine in Christ.  There are days when I crash and burn and my efforts to do anything past getting out of bed sort of crumple into a pile of good intentions. And at the end of these days that begin and end in frustration, you know where you can find me…

Hiding. In darkness. In a brown chair. Practicing the discipline of cuddling.


  1. Wow, I can relate! As I read your blog, I cried sweet tears, remembering how I did just that TONIGHT. Our sweet little man is 4 months old and the discipline of cuddling is as sweet now as it was when he was first born. Well said.

  2. This is my favorite. Of all time.