Hugs and cuddles

By Joe Rector

I looked over the other night, and our dog Sadie was asleep beside Amy. When I half-asleep walked into the bedroom, Sadie had managed to lie so close to my wife that the poor woman was hanging on for dear life.

No doubt about it, Sadie is a cuddler. Evenings at home find the three of us sitting on the couch. One night, the dog will lie beside Amy; the next night, she’ll curl between my legs when I raise the recliner. If she’s in an especially needy mood, she stretches her upper body up my torso and places her head on my chest.

Some nights, my lovable mutt warms my side of the bed. She sprawls her long body there and falls into a sleep that resembles a coma. I roll her over on her back with her legs straightened and locked. At least, I have enough room to get into the bed, even if the covers are trapped under the canine’s butt.

When our children were toddlers, they loved to wake up in the mornings and run down the hall to our room. They’d climb on the bed and flop between us. Sometimes they would fall back to sleep, but most often they lay there and jabbered about all the things on their minds. When both children piled into our full-size bed, we were cramped in a tiny space, and I quickly decided the time to rise had come.

The best cuddles came when Lacey or Dallas finished bathing and came pajama-clad to sit by us. They leaned in and found comfortable places. Before long, their heads began bobbing, and we’d lead them to bed.

Before long, the cuddles all but ended. Teens aren’t likely to hug their parents, and they are much too busy and cool to do something like that. However, if one of those young’uns wants something special or has committed an offense that is likely to bring on punishment, she’ll cuddle as a means of getting what she wants or avoiding punishments. The only other time when a cuddle might come is when a heart is broken. Losing a boyfriend or girlfriend feels as if the world is coming to an end, and assurance comes best at the side of a mom or dad.

I’ve never been much of a cuddler. Mother always said that Jim and I were too full of energy to sit still for any time. I do know when I had the mumps and measles, I’d have welcomed her hugs, but the poor woman was bedridden with the mumps herself. We did fall into each other when Daddy died. During her illness, we sat together and patted her to ease the pain she endured.

Amy has always liked sitting together and cuddling as we watch a movie on television. I always seemed to hurt in the exact places where her head lay on my shoulder or where her arm crossed mine. During these older years, I find the benefits of cuddling with my sweet wife. She reassures me that our life together is good and that our future is bright.

This world could use plenty more hugs and cuddles. We need to let others in our lives know how special they are. It does require a bit of time. These days, so many distractions require our attention, but the relationships between people make those unimportant things in life easier to handle. Figuratively, the folks who represent us in our government need to stop and give each other a hug. Maybe the best way for them to run the country is by starting each session by giving multiple hugs to those on the other side of the aisle.

Next time you see someone struggling, put an arm around that individual or take a seat next to him and offer support, understanding, and a little love. It’ll go a long way.