Saturday, August 10, 2013

Rx: Cuddles

When the twins were born, I felt something shift: It was an incredible awakening from somewhere dormant inside myself. A still, small voice reminding me to slow down, be quiet and listen. Bringing home a newborn (or two) is chaotic no matter how you spin it, but I am finding patterns in our days that reassure me we're doing okay. On the days we feel most happy, secure, comforted and loved, the common denominator seems to be moments of quiet cuddles. I know that may sound very kumbaya and flighty, but I have found it to be true.

Things are chaotic: I haven't been able to spend much time with Rich, with this newborn requiring feeding around the clock and for long stretches. I am not actively up and playing with the older girls very often, because I am tired and usually confined to the couch nursing Summer. I can't prepare dinner myself because I can't count on having my hands free in the hour before dinnertime. We are straying greatly from the routines we've known because we aren't yet living in our own home.


Hailey and Robin need extra reassurance and comfort from me, now that it's clear Summer is a baby who is here to stay. I can do that. Gladly. Extra snuggles coming right up.

Abby has needed to have outlets. Different activities and outings with our family members and friends give her a chance to expend her energy beans before coming home to see me and Summer waiting to give her a warm hug and back rub. 

Today, all three big girls spent the day with their grandparents, giving Summer and I a quiet reprieve to sit outside and breathe each other in, uninterrupted. I set up an Adirondack chair, poured a cup of tea, set Summer's bassinet up on the back lawn under the great Maple tree, and we listened to leaves dance in the wind all afternoon. There, in that quiet space, I felt some great truths rush in.

Those same truths make themselves heard during life changes and brief chaos.

The days are long, but the years are short.
All my family needs is love, cuddles and comfort.
When we eat well, we feel good.
Right now is exactly what I've always wanted: here I am living the dream.

I haven't become very proficient or very practiced in meditation, and I haven't been very diligent in following any one religious practice in my adult life. But if motherhood counts as a religion or a spiritual practice, then I am home. I find great peace in listening to sleeping Summer's wispy breaths. I find purpose and soulful satisfaction in comforting a crying toddler confused by the world around her. I find an enriching challenge and rewarding work in marriage. I find answers to all my questions in cuddles with my girls.

I know this moment is fleeting. I won't always be the mother of such young girls. I won't be called upon as often for reassurance, guidance, discipline and advice from my daughters. When that shift happens, I am confident I will know what to do next, what to do with myself. But the secret I am appreciating under the backyard Maple this afternoon is that there is great freedom, and great peace in doing things in the present. Right here, right now. This is my happy place.


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