Wednesday, February 3, 2016

the night we said goodbye to babyhood

This time around we made it 18 months.  Not that I was necessarily done with breastfeeding, but she was.  For the last few months we had weaned down to just the bedtime feed, but that too grew shorter and shorter until one night she didn't even want to finish.  And that's when I knew that she was ready to move on.  I squeaked a few more nights out of her as I did my best to prepare myself for the end of this era.  Because that's what it feels like, not just a phase of life, but an era.  Ask any mama, she'll tell you its true.

She called it "nee-nee".  And each night after zipping her into her little footed pajamas, she would hug me close and say "nee-nee".  And we'd sit on my bed in the dark, just her and I.  And there in the dark, she was my baby.  Not the busy toddler who runs through my home and insists on doing everything big brother does, not the toddler who climbs onto the counter tops and empties my drawers, not the toddler who is full of opinions and exciting ideas of her own.  No, there in the dark it was just like that first night she made her entrance into our world, and every night we'd shared thereafter.  Just she and I.  But she had grown and she had changed, and it was time for me to allow her to do so.

So without any pomp and circumstance, on just an ordinary night of an ordinary week in the middle of an ordinary January, I held her close and nursed my infant girl one last time.  And as she finished, I knew that my baby was gone and in her place lay my precious little girl.

Nobody warns you that the milestones of motherhood are going to be so bittersweet.  I suppose I learned that the first time around.  But as it turns out, familiarity doesn't make it less so. So don't slow down for me baby girl.  Grow and learn and run and climb.  And I'll be right behind with the bittersweet bursting from my heart with tears in my eyes and a smile on my lips.