I believe in the power of cuddle time. Yes … just simple snuggling, cuddling, and loving up my eight-year-old son, Noah. It doesn’t cost anything. I’m not getting graded on it. My job doesn’t depend on it. It is something I can give and accept, freely at anytime and anyplace. It is something that soothes frazzled nerves, calms a cranky soul, and reaffirms the wonder of being a parent.
Since becoming a parent, it seems as though each day goes by faster than the last. Some days I feel I just can’t keep up and am in no way ready for the stroke of midnight signaling the start of a new day.
As Noah has gotten older, he’s become less and less dependent on me. In many ways, that is a positive thing. In some, it’s like a fist squeezing my heart and taking my breath away. It seems as though he is growing up faster than I can keep up with. There are times when I put him to bed at night and realize I only saw him for about an hour that day. That is when the pains of guilt strike.
Being a single mom, a nursing student, and a massage therapist is what my days and nights consist of. I know there are times when I’m busy typing away on my computer trying to race the clock and complete an assignment or paper and I become aware that Noah is off in the background … alone … entertaining himself, once again.
Or … in the morning as we are rushing to get ready for school and out the door, I realize I haven’t even taken a moment to spend with him not doing anything but just being Mommy and Noah. It got to the point that our mornings were rushed, stressful, and we usually ended up arguing with each other.
One morning Noah said, “Mommy, come cuddle with me.” It stopped me in my tracks. How could I possibly deny such a simple request? Yes … I had his lunch to pack, laundry halfway into the wash, he was in his pajamas and I in mine, the dog hadn’t been fed, the cat was climbing up my leg begging for canned food, the garbage man was headed up the alley and my garbage was still in the house, and we had twenty-five minutes to get out the door. There was no option. I dropped everything and went and cuddled with him on the couch for ten minutes and watched “Sponge Bob.”
The difference the ten minutes of cuddling, and letting everything else just fade away, made was astounding on the rest of our morning routine. There was no more whining from Noah, I didn’t feel like a harried tyrant, and things just seemed to go smoother. It was as if we were both reminded of what was TRULY important … each other, and our love for each other. Everything else was just small stuff.
From that point on, we vowed to each other that no matter what we would spend no less than ten minutes each morning having cuddle time. We even agreed to drag ourselves out of bed a bit earlier each day to accommodate it so we could stretch it past ten minutes if we felt like it. Soon, we found that we were pushing twenty-five to thirty minutes in the morning and surprisingly, the rest of the morning routine turned into a piece of cake!
Now, our cuddle time has become so important to us that we don’t limit it to just mornings. Randomly throughout the day, or evening, if one of us feels like we need some human contact, reassurance, stress relief, or just for no reason at all, we simply announce, “It’s cuddle time!”
The level at which we’ve reconnected and our relationship grown has been profound. I also feel that I have grown as a mother. Looking back on the mornings before cuddle time I wonder how we survived them … and each other.
I wonder why on earth we didn’t start cuddle time sooner.