Earlier this week I sat with my 1 year old on my lap, and cuddled koala bear style – something she never, ever does. It was such a (rare and) beautiful moment, I didn’t want to flinch in fear she would decide this was not her preferred resting spot. I looked down at her eyelashes which were stuck together with fresh tears from the minutes before, and gave her a firm squeeze soaking up the moment, breathing it alllll in, and the words ‘I miss you’ whispered from my mouth. I miss you?
She hadn’t cuddled me like that since she was a newborn. She is not the sit-still cuddly type. My mom always used to say how I just ‘sat’ on her lap. No fuss, no rush, no fidgeting. How I wish my daughter would do this. But once on me, she wants to climb off me but then straight back on and roll off the side and squeeze through that and then back on but this way… and by then my wrists are aching… again.
I miss you? What a weird thing to think. I mean she was right there. With me. Tummy to tummy, arms tucked under mine, head nestled under my chin.
A thought hit me. We recently had our floors redone. The guy who helped us was wonderful, but he was rushed. Always. He did a fantastic job and I’d definitely recommend him and his company to anyone in need of new floors – but I always felt like I was interrupting him when I had a question. We couldn’t verbally process the change, bounce ideas, brainstorm thinking (sure, it is just a floor so it’s not like I was dealing with an architect) and while he was happy for us to try samples and take them home and sit with them and offer advice, I always felt like he was in a hurry. It always felt like he had something on… something next. At the end of the day it was business.
And THAT IS ME. I’m busy. I like being productive. The next thing that needs to happen – that’s on my mind. I like feeling like I’ve accomplished something. I’m a 7 on the enneagram which means I’m go-go-go. I want to do-do-do, experience-experience-experience. I want to swell all experiences to their absolute maximum; ice cream on the beach walk, breakfast after a Saturday morning run, a hot coffee en route to work, a sneaky glass of wine with a girlfriend. Optimistic, spontaneous, a joy-scout, ambitious, and certain we can always squeeze in a little more of something.
Am I too busy ensuring my child gets an invite to Uncle Paul’s Christmas Party that I don’t actually enjoy Uncle Paul’s Christmas Party? Am I too busy filling a schedule I have not a hot clue whether we’re off to swimming or tennis (we don’t play tennis, so it could only be swimming but you know what I mean). Does this contribute to my impatience at car seat buckles, my perceived stressed-ness come school time and my frustration at my kids not.being.fast.enough. Am I about to looooooose the plot because Brea is crying, again? The need. I’m always fulfilling a need. It’s transactional. Is it all businessey like my floor friend? I know my answers are not dire. I know my kids get a better version of me that I sometimes give myself credit, but why did I miss her? (On a practical level I’m with her all morning and then every afternoon, I’m still breastfeeding her to sleep and having tea parties and trying to brush her 5.5 teeth and in reality she lives on my hip like velcro. So why miss her?)
This long cuddle was something surreal. This warm little body, clinging to mine. Her arms wrapped around my front. Her little snuffly sounds as she tired to breathe through her snotty nose. No phone, no noise (fortunately I’d just made meringues and the boys were happily preoccupied with those), no rush. NO NEED TO DO OR BE anywhere else. No need to do anything BUT BE THERE. I need more of those moments.
Let the floor guy and my blissful cuddle remind you to stop. And be there.