He and I both have colds so we stayed home while Greg took everyone else to church. In the quiet house this morning I realized something. Before I put Spencer down last night I didn't nurse him. I've been doing only the one feeding right before bed for the last two months or so. In recent weeks it is more and more symbolic and less and less to provide any sort of nourishment. I have been planning to quit completely for the last week or so. This morning I realized that, just like that: it's all over.
And I sob.
I have spent four and a half years of my life nursing my babies. There have been times when I almost would rather have died and times when I was sure it was not worth it. I have often been forced to sit down and cuddle my baby to me when I did not have time or to retrain a newborn who seemed to suddenly forget how he had been getting his sustenance for days or weeks before.
I have spent countless hours pondering the wonder of being able to feed my babies any time I need to, to provide everything their little bodies require. I think about my body and the miracle it is and all that it has done for the people I love most in all the world. I think about how much that love has grown in the days and weeks and months of cumulative hours I have spent gazing down at a sweetly nursing baby. How grateful I am for that. For all of it. The good and the difficult.
And suddenly I have come to the end of it all. And I can't bear it. How do people bear these things, "The Lasts"?
My life is so full. I love my children dearly and find it hard to contain the excitement and happiness I experience watching them learn new things every day. A toy drops and Spencer says, "Uhhh-oooooooh" for the first time, his lips forming the cutest little "O" as he says it. Aaron comes up with the idea to bring a stool to the stove where I'm making "crunchy cheese" for him. Climbing on it he says, "Oh! Now I can see betterly!" David gets his first retainer and is so excited to feel that the protruding tooth he's been hating for years is starting to move backward and I know he will be way too handsome. Evie pulls me into another room, excited to tell me about the "Między nami Kobietami" ("Between us Women") maturation class she had at school.
So many firsts, all the time.
Right now I mourn this last.The grief is real and the sobs are deep. Does it go away, this ache in your heart when one of the most important, challenging and fulfilling things of the last 12 years of your life has ended? Forever?
I will keep a more vigilant eye open for "firsts" and rejoice in all the good things my babies bring into my life today. And tomorrow. And I will content myself with the feeling that somehow I will have all the yesterdays back. I don't know how it works but I know that one day I will have a fullness of joy, and that can only mean that these experiences will be part of me, as they are now, but without the tragedy of their being only a memory.