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“The Snuggle Goes Through the Snuggle Wire”
Controversial new paper on snuggle physics
We have found snuggles immeasurably useful during the last eleven months, probably more than any other time since Kina was born. We dole these snuggles out liberally—especially on the edges of slumber and during important movies—and we’ve seen how Kina has come to recognize their value and energy. She understands that snuggles are something transmitted, as if by an invisible wire, between people who love each other. This is, in a way, something new; snuggles were not always thus.
I talked a little bit yesterday about the difference between Kina as a baby and Kina as a four-year-old, in terms of how we now collectively understand discipline, but snuggles live in that space, too. The gap, in this case, is between snuggles you get and snuggles you share. As a baby, closeness is a form of protection and nurture; you can’t live without it. Snuggles give life. At four, closeness is a signal of belonging, care, and nostalgia for the time when comfort was sustenance; it conveys information. Snuggles are a statement. Snuggles, at four, are a choice.
We are here in this apartment together, the three of us, by no choice of our own. This is probably true of you, our readers, as well. I don’t mean to complain. We have not chosen to be this close, which can be a source of tremendous stress, in predictable and terrible ways for some parents—notably those who have lost family and employment this year (losses that we have fortunately been spared). We’ve navigated this fraught closeness, counterintuitively, by choosing more closeness. We literally cling closer to each other now than we have since Kina was little, and that choice to embrace closeness in a tight space has been a saving grace in the last eleven months. The strange coexistence of being unable to escape a place and feeling so far from all other places can leave us feeling as though we’re floating untethered. Snuggles remind us of the presence we have with each other—and of our own substance. Snuggles are how we choose to be close, so that we can forget that we did not choose this.
It works, but history tells us that the snuggles of a four-year-old are a limited-time offer. We snatch them up wherever we can as Kina emerges from naps, gets lost in admiration for her various castles, or rests quietly amid her stuffies—in full awareness that these moments are gifts. Laurea and I are relishing this confluence of early childhood and isolation—trust me!—despite their respective challenges, and I think we will look back fondly on the choices we made in this year of no choices. Take the cabin fever and make it snuggly. It keeps us alive.
How are you doing, reader? I hope are you finding choice in your loss of control, and taking the snuggles as you can find them, either in togetherness or quiet solitude.