Rob Petrie had it made.
He had the love and adoration of the beautiful Laura. He had a fine young son. He had a fulfilling job where he worked in a humorous family atmosphere and neighbors who were his closest friends. You know what else he had? A good night’s sleep! He got a good night’s sleep because he and Laura had separate beds. Can you imagine it? I can. You see, I’m not one for snuggling.
I blame the fact that I get too hot. But really, I just like to be on my own. I think I’ve always been that way. I don’t recall a time when I just felt an overwhelming urge to cuddle. Oh sure, we were honeymooners at one point, way back in the early 90’s… when I was young. I am sure I snuggled then. But like any guy, If I were honest I would admit to an ulterior motive.
All of my daughters are snugglers and when they were young, somewhere between one and four of them would appear in our king-sized bed during the night. When we had daughter 1, Mommy would bring her in to get some sleep after a late night feeding. Who was I to stop them? I was of no use at feeding time. Besides, I was comfortably asleep on my side of the bed. My desire to be separate was used against me because I didn’t notice the intrusion.
Daughter number 2 had a doll bed on wheels that stayed beside her. Whenever she woke up, she would push the loaded bed down the hall. Even the canopy was laden with dolls because evidently dolls are like soldiers – no doll gets left behind. Daughter number 3 didn’t have a bedroom until she was a year old, so she started the night in a cradle at the foot of our bed and always seemed to join our merry band.
And number 4, well Kylie was the chief of all snugglers. As the baby, she never lacked someone to snuggle. I even snuggled her sometimes because she just fit.
When she got sick, we all snuggled her any chance we got – no one more than mommy. As her caretaker, mommy snuggled her in the hospital and at home. They read together, knitted together, watched television together, and just sat together – most of the time arm in arm. The one time Kylie preferred someone other than mommy was when she wanted to play video games, because mommy stinks at those. We all encouraged gaming to steal an opportunity.
Pretty much the only way to get kicked out of bed with Kylie was to sniff her bald head. Although it smelled like heaven on earth, it ticked her off for someone to smell it.
I miss those snuggles.
* * * * * *
After she died, a friend with the same unfortunate experience told me I would hear her voice someday. It didn’t take long. I heard it soon after the funeral and it was as clear as a bell.
“Snuggle Mommy,” she told me.
“Huh?” I tried to argue, “I don’t like to snuggle! I miss you. Forget about snuggling, let’s talk a while.”
She had but one message. I could almost picture pursed lips and a cocked head as she repeated it slowly so it would sink into my thick skull, “Snuggle Mommy!”
I wanted more, but she was gone. Her image and voice faded away.
I knew she was right, though. Mommy needs snuggling. Since Kylie died, mommy had taken to snuggling Buttercup, Kylie’s big chemo bunny. Ten months of a constant companion leaves many unexpected voids. Mommy needs snuggling.
And so, in the past two months I have snuggled like I’ve never snuggled before. I’m trying. While I miss my aloneness, I have noticed that when you bunch together, the covers don’t get pulled off as much. It is weird not being on my side of the bed, but life is weird right now anyway so what’s a little more weirdness. Also strange is snuggling without that old ulterior motive.
Okay, I admit there will always be a glimmer of hope… I’m still a guy, after all. But hey, it isn’t the main reason.
15 thoughts on “Snuggle Mommy”
My father is not one to show affection of any kind. Well emotion of any kind really! A real Mr. Spock. In my 40++ years we’ve shared two hugs. Two! Both just this year…since the Big C descended upon him…and us. I’m so thankful God has given us time for hugs…but cancer sure seems a funny way to go about it. I’ll take it though!
I understand completely. That’s how you steal a little joy from the pain…
this is lovely and so beautifully written straight from the heart, mark. hugs to you and yours, and hope you’re not cringing )
No cringing… Thank you
Hi Mark, I love your writing. I’ve been following your FB posts and Blogs for some time now. You can express your thoughts and emotions in a wonderful way (you should think about publishing a book!). But, I have to say……please learn to snuggle and enjoy the snuggles with your wife. My husband was one to snuggle, whether it was for an ulterior motive or not. You see, my husband passed away almost 6 years ago this June of a brain tumor. He was given 12-14 months, but lived 3 years. I married my high school sweetheart, my very best friend. He was my rock. “We” have two wonderful, handsome young men now. AND, now should have been the time that we get “reacquainted” with each other and fulfill our bucket lists together (we had them in our own minds), as our life while the boys were young, were for them…..we worked so we could comfortably provide, enjoyed their school activities, enjoyed every minute of their hectic travel soccer schedules, our love and care for each of them, etc. as they were our number one priority (not that we didn’t make time for each other, but the balancing act was not easy). I would do ANYTHING to have that snuggle and/or ulterior motive from & with him to this very moment. Please snuggle with your wife every night (you can always roll over to your side of the bed when the snuggles are done), and shower her with hugs and kisses. And, she needs those snuggles now more than ever. I just don’t want you to (heaven for bid) have guilt and/or regrets for not snuggling, as the hour glass can go dry at any moment (as we all know). I’m not writing this with rudeness or tone of any kind. I just don’t want you to have any regrets because we can’t turn back the hands of time. Peace and love to each of you and the girls.
Oh Denise. I’m sorry for you loss and will take this to heart. Blessings and love to you.
I was praying you would hear her! I have always been a huge fan of “spooning” I believe families will fit together like puzzle pieces …. Love the story
I believe I read a little about that in Glitter. Thanks Jennifer.
Your Posts are always so beautifully written. They provide food for thought and comfort. I can’t explain it any better than this. I have only recently found your blog site. I don’t even know how I did but sometimes maybe more often than we want to believe, we see or hear something that motivates us in a certain direction. You heard Kylie, say snuggle. I read one of your Posts. We both followed the suggestion! What gifts to both of us. Margy
Oh Mark, I’m so sorry I didn’t know this before. I had no idea that Kylie had gone. Your post is beautiful and, for what it’s worth, it made me cry. May God richly bless you and your family.
Thank you Staci. Today marks 3 months for us.
May God continue to heal your hearts Mark. Really, there are no words.
Mark, I really loved your writing. I just want you to know that you are not alone. I’m so sorry for your loss and pain. I know it well. I’ve lost two little girls. I was never able to have any more. So I have furkids whom I love very much. The loss of my children is something I will never “get over” or find “closure” to; as some people have suggested to me. I will always miss them and hurt because they’re gone. I do know, without a doubt, that I will see them again someday. I’ve always been a snuggler too. I cannot wait to snuggle them again someday. Till then, I will snuggle my furkids! Wishing you and your wife and children many many snuggles to come!
Thank you, Kathy. I’m sorry for your losses. It’s a hard thing.
Thank you too, Mark. It’s a club that none of us joins voluntarily, or wants to be a member of.