Monday, March 9, 2015

The Truth About Snuggling

"First we'll make snow angels for two hours, then we'll go ice skating, then we'll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie-dough as fast as we can, and then we'll snuggle."

-- Buddy the Elf

When Jill moved down to Houston in 2002, obviously all of her stuff moved w/ her.  This included her green and white wide-striped couch.

It was a comfy, casual couch, w/ a pullout bed.  It was in no way formal, but sturdy and well taken care of.  It did the job.  Long w/ deep seating.  

I was never fond of the style, but you couldn't beat its comfort.  

The only other piece of living room furniture that welcomed your ass was an oversized, overstuffed leather arm chair.  It didn't do much for me.

(Both now reside in our basement.)

But, when we wanted to curl up and watch the "O.C.," "Queer Eye," or "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge" (yes, all high brow television), we always found ourselves sharing the couch.  

And it worked for us.  It worked really well.  

We both had more than enough room.  And, to be honest, at that stage in our relationship, being snuggled up together wasn't all that bad.  

I mean, I get it.  I'm a guy.  I am supposed to be repelled by any sniff of an impending snuggle.

But, let's be real.  There's a point - a stretch - in every relationship where snuggling is equally welcomed by both parties.  

That's right.  I said it.

The green and white striped couch was complicit in our snuggling.

Thanks, couch.  (I name my cars...not my furniture.)

Then we bought our first house, and w/ it, new furniture.  

Now, not unlike the car situation, I wasn't convinced we needed a new couch.  This one was functional.  No need to fix what ain't broke.  

Jill, on the other hand, wanted to update, upgrade.  

"We have a new house.  I've had this couch longer than I've had you.  I want something new."  

"Why don't we just get one of those couch covers to make it look new?" I wished at her.

G-d bless her.  Jilly played along and attempted to find that couch cover.  But, nothing worked.

So, I gave in and quickly found our living room furnished w/ a new sofa, love seat, coffee table, end tables, and lamps.  

(BTW, who uses sofa v couch?  Is it appropriate to use one over the other?  If so, why?  Educate me.)

The new furniture was great - material, color, functionality.  All good...

...until the day Jill and I attempted to share the couch.

This new couch (sofa?) wasn't as deep as good ol' wide stripes.  

Sooooo, the snuggl'ability took a big hit.  

We tried to rectify it.

"Just take off the back cushions," fix-it Jill suggested to me.

"They don't come off."  


So, we tried to make do.  We crammed our bodies into that couch as best we could.  But, the reality was that it was a force fit.  It wasn't comfortable.  Two was a crowd.

While our relationship was strong, our ability to share a couch - our couch - was being extinguished.

And soon we made a dramatic move.  One of us claimed the couch.  The other, the love seat.  

That's right.  There might as well have been an ocean between us.  (And Jill doesn't like the water.)

I didn't like it.  Jilly didn't like it.  

But, like many things, time passed and we acclimated to this new, disconnected lounging.  

Each of us w/ our own plot of living room land, we read books, watched "24," and fed Rory.

It was a brave new world.  

And all the while, the striped couch sat dormant in our guest room.  

Sometimes, at night, I thought I could hear it calling to us, "Come back...I'll make you happy again..."

I wanted to.

Fear not.  While living room snuggle moments became few and far between, snuggling itself was not obliterated from our relationship.  

More often than I care to admit, this would occur...

At the end of the day, Jill and I would get into bed.  I'd take my .2 seconds to get comfortable and begin drifting off when Jill would start infringing on my territory.  It was a snuggle invasion.  

And that's all long as you don't act like a fish out of water when you're going to bed or "getting settled" as Jill would put it.  The woman could not find a place for herself that lasted longer than three seconds.

Invariably, one of two things would occur...
  1. Jill would constantly readjust herself to get comfortable, while, in the process, making me extremely uncomfortable.  "Lay in one place or go over to your side," I'd huff.
  2. Jill would get too hot and exclaim in an exasperated tone, "I'm hot!" and then proceed to roll to her cooler side of the bed.
Still, to be honest, even if I presented a frustrated front to her, Jill knew - and I knew - that I welcomed the closeness.  Always.  No matter the conditions.

That said, Jilly's snuggle business didn't start and end w/ me. 

Rory and Jill were made to snuggle w/ one another.  Born snuggle buddies.

The two of them could and would curl up anywhere - a bedroom, the living room, even the kitchen at times.  They had this ability to melt into one another, providing comfort, protection, and a feeling of home all at the same time.

At bedtime, after reading w/ Ro for a bit, I'd kiss her goodnight and check out.  Mommy, who had already positioned herself under the covers w/ Rory, would stay put.  As I expressed to Rory recently, I never knew if Mommy was coming out to hang w/ me for the evening or, if she was going to conk out, snuggled up beside Ro.  It was often a toss-up.  

As I walked out of Ro's room, Jill would look at me, "I'll be out in a minute"...which I think we all translated into "I may just fall asleep snuggled here w/ Ro.  If I do, just wake me before you go to bed."

This time they spent w/ one another, this silent time, was clearly cherished by the both of them.  Here's two people that are never short of words - w/ one another or anyone else.  Yet, after they'd catch up on the day's highlights, they would cuddle up and just be.  Together.

I never liked interrupting it or breaking it up.  Let it be, I thought to myself.  They both need this.

As oxymoronic as it may read, this was a relaxing way for each of them to recharge.

I think this is why evenings remain the most difficult time of day for Rory.  This is why, in the quiet before I kiss her goodnight and exit her room, she almost always jabs two lines at me.

"I miss Mommy."

"Why did she have to die?"

I hear these two cutting lines nearly every single night.  Each time it reopens the wound.  Keeps it fresh, raw, exposed.

And you know why?  Because if I ever start to feel like we're doing okay, we're progressing, we're healing just a bit, these two lines very quickly and abruptly tell me we have a long way to go.

Daddy's not doing everything right.
Daddy's not making all the pain go away.
Daddy's not filling in the abyss left by Mommy.

Last night I made a conscious effort to get under the covers to read before bedtime.  Ro snuggled up w/ me, found a spot, and settled in.  But, not before saying, "This isn't the way Mommy did it."

"I know, babe."

"Mommy always had a plush robe on I could snuggle into."

I hesitated, then..."And you know what else?  Mommy had boobs.  Built in snugglers, right?"

Ro laughed.  That's what we needed at that moment.  Well, that's what I needed at that moment.

"And soon I'll have boobs for snuggling," Ro responded thoughtfully.

Shit.  Backfire.  Abort.  Abort.  Now Daddy's sweaty and wants to make a run for it.

Ah, fuck it.  "Let's get back into this book.  It's pretty interesting so far."

And so we read on.  Snuggled up.  Together.

All love,

J, J, & r

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