I have a few posts on Spiritual Boundaries going – one completed – but I need to sit with them awhile before I post. I’m not quite brave enough tonight.
“Is your whole series to be about boundaries?” my husband asked.
“I don’t know. I didn’t intend for it to be.”
“What did you intend?”
“Just an exercise in having boundaries on my own writing – you know, writing small, writing from what is daily real in my life. But then those boundary posts kinda happened. And they just keep coming in my head.”
They do keep coming, but tonight I’m pulling back and engaging this actual, real-time moment.
Here’s what is real: a little head is flopping on my chest because she cannot fall asleep. Her head cold puts a shot of fear in my mama-heart with every cough. Beside her, her older sister snores with a squeak. This big bed with its multiple bodies is the night-time center of the home. It’s where it’s at, people. It’s the destination for little feet and all the parched tongues everywhere, so if you’re up tonight you might as well shuffle in. I’ll squint through the darkness to gauge the size of your shadow, and stick out my hand to the top of your head to be sure. If you’re the dog, I’ll ignore you and let you wake up the sleeping man.
But anyway, this stuffy toddler on my chest.
I’m weaning her.
She’s the last. I’ve been breastfeeding for 12 YEARS. 12 straight years.
And now it’s done. (Well, the milk’s not done because after 12 years this body doesn’t easily dry up. Perhaps I should make a side-business out of this.)
Last night this child began weeping because she wanted to nurse, it had been four days and she wanted it with all her tired little heart. I lifted her out to David. “I need your help,” I said.
Scooping her up, he calmly murmured, “Would you like some warm milk, Edee?”
That was that and she felt her tummy was happy, and happily went to bed.
Reflecting on the interaction really made me chuckle – it was all so inconsequential, so mundane and normal. David and I have done this so many times. So there was no conversation about it beforehand, no plan, no words that needed to be said. I’m done. Here, I’ll get her warm milk. Bim. Bam. Bang.
“I don’t want to wean her,” I told David, later on.
“She’s the last.”
“That’s true, Babe.”
“No really, it’s super sad for me.”
“Well, it’s many different things. It’s the fact that I’ve been nursing babies for 12 years, and I won’t, ever again. It’s that I love nursing. And I’m going to miss it, so much. But also, it’s scary for me, because nursing Edee is an anchor to my day with her. Even though I’ve only been nursing at bedtime for a couple of weeks, I still know that I will have that moment with her – we will be skin to skin, I will hold her, she will have me all to herself. I worry I’m not up to the challenge of having to establish other moments of one-on-one nurture and connection with her, to take nursing’s place.”
I re-read that last sentence and think about deleting it. But it’s true. This is an actual challenge. I am sad about taking this connection away from her, and thrilled for her, also, because every time one of our children has weaned, a major mental and emotional growth spurt next occurred. I can’t wait, and I can wait forever, please.