Were you around for last week’s ritual? You may remember Nicole’s words on snuggling with her babies in the morning – well, what fun it was for me to receive these submissions within hours of each other, AND to find two kindred mama-spirits who’d SOMEHOW landed back to back weeks. Julie Holly is a mama and a writer and a friend, and just like last week’s ritual, I love her heart and her story today. Enjoy!
Through the seasons of the year, the addition or subtraction of flannel sheets and blankets, one thing remains, the pitter-patter of our daughter’s feet on the wood floor racing down the hall followed shortly by her brother’s echoing stomps.
They make their way into our room, sometimes standing at the threshold inspecting, figuring out if their parents still bodies are in dreamland. Being a light sleeper, I wake most every time when their big toe first meets the smooth grains of wood. I wait, a happy excitement dances in my heart as I expect to see their little frames walk through the threshold of our room. Our eyes meet and dance of groggy jig as I pull back the cloud-like duvet welcoming them in to snuggle close. On cool mornings they press their toes and legs close to mine, trying to leech as much warmth as possible from my slightly warmer body, something you can only do to those who love you deeply.
I cradle my preschool daughter and nuzzle her delicate strawberry hair that smells nothing of the sweetness of spring’s luscious fruit. Her eyes close and she dozes off for a moment more before her clear blue eyes meet my stormy grays for another unspoken “Good morning I love you” gaze. Some mornings we repeat this a few times. Our hearts filled, intoxicated by the luxury of unconditional love. Her arms reach above her head toward the headboard and an obscure sigh escapes her lips. Strained whispers rush in unison, “Hush, you’ll wake your brother!” He does wake.
The sound of his older stronger frame lugging down the hall ushers him into our room. Some mornings they argue over snuggle placement, which will be on the side by mom or in the middle of mom and dad. Yesterday he went to the foot of the bed and crawled from beneath the covers up to the pillows, where he basked in the ultimate in paternal security and love. These moments are precious privilege.
Attention turned towards the boy who made me a mom, I run my fingers through his soft hair and place gentle kisses on his forehead. “Good morning,” I attempt to say gently in my rough morning voice. We talk about how we slept and the dreams we had the night before as we ease into the day spread before us.
Them come the click-click-click-taps of our yellow Labrador bounding down the hall intent on crashing the snuggle fest. We’re not a family that allows dogs on furniture, so Buddy’s muzzle nestles into our duvet cover while his hips dance and tail zig-zag-slaps back and forth. His cold nose, slightly moist, brushes against a hand, which quickly retracts and squeals.
Some mornings I pull myself out of bed early for mediation, workouts or writing, but I find myself drawn back to the snuggle bed. Wrinkled noses proclaim I’m smelly and little fingers reach to feel if I’m sweaty the mornings I run and I’m shunned from the sacred space. After a lightening shower (now standard protocol in parched California) I’m welcomed back, wet noodle-like hair and all. I crawl back in bed for a final few minutes before the morning momentum steals another day, because nothing beats sacred morning snuggles.
Our kids are getting older but they haven’t outgrown the snuggle ritual. The day is coming when this ritual will come to an end, but until then, I will welcome these mornings of squishing onto our shrinking queen sized bed.
Julie Holly is a member of Redbud Writers Guild, contributor for Start Marriage Right and founder of Peacequility where she nurtures the wellspring of life while tackling gritty realities life (and sinful hearts) produce. Her second chance marriage has blessed her with an encouraging husband, two vivacious kids and a loving lab that keep her on her toes.