I met my new nephew a few weekends ago. Dang he’s cute (this is his newborn photo). He is my brother’s first child and their little family is in the throws of figuring each other out. At 6 weeks, Morgan is pretty much focused on the holy trinity of eating, pooping and sleeping. When he was fussy, we tried out a new contraption called a Moby Wrap http://www.mobywrap.com/ to hold him close.
It was a stretchy, large fabric that is as long as – oh – your small intestines. Seriously looooooooooong. You wrap that fabric around your waist, over the back, under the arm, around your other arm, through your shirt, over your shoulder, under your head, in one ear and out the other, and then snugly secure it by tieing. OK. You can see I am exaggerating here a tad bit. But not by much. I felt like I was stuck in a straight jacket.
But. When we popped my little nephew into it, it pulled up his feet into his body, just as he was inside his mama. As soon as his legs came up, he relaxed and went right to sleep. It was MAGIC. (We’ll let the model show you here. I looked like something the cat drug in. Trust me on this.)
It made me think about how much I have loved being held at different points in my life. Still, there is no sweeter, safer, loving feeling to me than those few winter months when it is cold enough for Doug to snuggle in behind me at night, his arms draped over my shoulder. Spooned. (Until we both start sweating.)
But still, being held, cradled, spooned – has something satisfying about it. It must touch a primal need – of being safe and loved.
I remember camping with my Grandparents when I was probably 5th grade. They were building a “tar paper shack” on the Pend Oreille River in northern Idaho. When we visited, we would camp at Riley Creek Campground with them while they worked on the house a few miles away. It tickled me that my grandparents had a “double sleeping bag” that was zipped together. Why? So they could spoon at night. In fact, this still makes me smile.
Comfort. Belonging. Safety. Being loved. I suppose we all have different ways of getting these needs met. It is a healthy reminder that we may graduate from being wrapped in our mother’s arms, but we do not graduate from needing to feel secure and safe. Likely we misunderstand that need sometimes. Or come up with ways to meet it that may not be the healthiest.
I guess the key is to identify them. And accept them. Surprise! I still need to feel safe and loved – even at my ripe old age.
What makes you feel safe? And loved? And what can you do to give others that “Moby wrap of peace” feeling? I would wager a bet that the time you spent helping others feel – and be – safe and loved – will change you. And, it could transform your relationships.