My daughter Anna told us about Disney character hugs this week. I didn’t realize the characters are told to not break the hug until the kid (or adult) does. Sometimes we just need a longer hug. My husband and son challenged that rule tonight. Neither was willing to let go -it was more of a competition than anything else.
In our family, we love to read books together and the best way to do it is all snuggled up. I think they’re something calming about being close enough to feel someone’s heartbeat. There are times when my heart is racing and just the closeness of someone I love slows my heart rate.
One of the cutest pages of my book, I Made the Earth is the page with the koalas. I knew I wanted feature koalas because my sweet niece Autumn loves them so much. It’s a cute page because mommy and baby koala are all snuggled up in a tree. And it reminds me to take time to stop and snuggle up with my kids. Even our teenagers need that closeness (though they may not admit it).
If you’ve been participating in the Earth Day Family challenge, you can get 100 points for “Snuggling up together like koalas in a tree.” That’s an easy one to do. Download your printable challenge here and tag me or use the hashtag #IMadeTheEarthChallenge when you earn points. Families with 5,000 points will be eligible for a grand prize on Earth Day (April 22).
A few months ago, I woke up in the middle of the night. If you’re like me, the middle of the night is the time when any and every little thing becomes something to worry about. I find myself worrying about if I remembered to sign something in my kid’s folder or if a weird sound an appliance has been making means it’ll need to be replaced. Sometimes when I’m up worrying, I turn on the TV just to drown out the noise in my head.
But on this night, instead of reaching for the remote control, I remembered something I had recently read. A question was posed in a devotion, “Does it make God angry when we fall asleep during prayer?” The writer said, “Does it make you angry when your child falls asleep in your arms?” I loved that answer. So, instead of watching something dumb on TV that night, I snuggled up to my father. I told him about the silly thing I was worrying about. And then I talked to him about the things I love about him. I thanked him for the many, many blessings in my life -like my sweet family who still like to snuggle up with me. And very soon, I was back to sleep. And not fitful, precarious sleep, but comfortable, restful sleep.
I hope you find some time to snuggle up this week. Use that time of closeness to:
Read a book together.
I recommend “Cuddle Up Prayers” by Michelle Medlock Adams -you can’t get a book more on theme than that. If your kids are older, choose a chapter book you can read nightly. They’ll look forward to the next chapter and you’ll look forward to them looking forward to it.
Share your highs and lows for the day.
We often do that over dinner and although they can sometimes be the same stuff, it’s really helpful to see what’s going on in their worlds. Look for patterns. If they’re always complaining about a certain classmate that may be a sign there’s something more going on there. In addition to highs and lows, we sometimes share where we saw God. The littles don’t always understand this, but my teens do and they often look for times when they saw God at work so they’ll have something to share later.
Talk about your hopes.
There’s nothing wrong with doing a little dreaming before you do a little dreaming. I love to hear the hopes of little kids. “I hope I win the spelling bee.” Or “I hope I get a certain teacher” or “I hope to open a pizza shop one day” -that’s been my Nora’s hope for years.
Talk to God together.
Help your kids experience that comfortable, restful sleep we have when we fall asleep talking to God. Will they stall by praying for anyone and everyone they’ve ever met? Of course they will. I remember doing that as a kid too. But that’s okay. Let them stay up late praying for others. There’s nothing wrong with that.