Since I work from home and James isn’t in school yet, the two of us spend a lot of time together. For some reason, he’s never been particularly snuggly with me — he loves to curl up with Mike, but he’s never really gone to me for his cuddling needs. This used to drive me crazy, because I love nothing more than to cuddle, but I always had Annabel and Rigby to snuggle up with.

This illness was crappy for lots of reasons, but it was especially hard to be sick without my number one cuddle buddy, Rigby. When I was sick she would never leave me, lying on top of me or, when I was feverish, next to me. Being sick so soon after she died really emphasized her absence. But luckily, I found comfort from an unexpected source.

James has been absolutely glued to me during my illness. He’d come up to me and say, “Mama, wanna cuddle?” and then (just like Rigby) he’d climb onto my arm, or leg, or really any part of my body that seemed like it would be a comfortable place to sit. Sometimes he’d pat my hand and say, “You’re okay, Mama.” He’d eventually wiggle his way under my blanket and onto my lap, and he’d figure out a way to throw the blanket over our heads to “play tunnel room.”

Tunnel room

Sometimes he would come up to me and say, “Rub your head? Brush your hair?” And then he’d play with my hair, imitating things he’d seen Annabel do. Yes, he mostly turned my hair into a giant knot, but I didn’t care.

playing with mommy's hair

One afternoon after my mom brought Annabel home from school, she discovered James napping on top of me (amazing, because James never naps).

napping on mama

It’s been so amazing to finally get the cuddly, empathetic side of James. It was exactly what my heart needed during these last three weeks.