Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sorry, the Dairy Is Closed

I love being a mother.  I love having confidence in my body that it can produce healthy babies.  I love holding  my little ones and kissing them and smelling them (most of the time) and watching them grow - even though they leave behind so many wonderful little memories that will never happen again.  I love having older children, and I am amazed and delighted to experience the next adventure with them.  But I do miss my little babies.

I was thinking this the other night while I nursed my sweet little twins.  They've grown out of their other nursings, but we've held on to the last nighttime mommy milk.  I've been noticing that their diapers are more dry in the morning than they used to be, and they don't nurse as long as they used to.  They aren't getting much milk anymore, and our nighttime cuddle session is little more than a soothing ritual to calm down before bed.  But I've had a hard time giving it up.  They love nursing.  I love nursing.  These are my last babies (I know, this is the third time I've thought I was done.  But I really do think I'm done.).  This is the last time I'll ever get to nourish my babies, my flesh and bone, with milk I produced just for them.  It's a sacred thing to me.  Why would I want to quit?  I don't want to, and that's the truth.

I was thinking these melancholy thoughts while I nursed them, and had the distinct impression that this was our last time.  Freddie fell asleep at the breast, and Trent took him to bed.  Instead of following him with Georgie, I stayed on the couch for a few extra moments, savoring my delicious baby.  I gave them both an extra kiss as I tucked them into bed.

The next night, Trent and I went out to a play.  When we got home, the older boys had put all the little ones down to bed.  It was slightly before the twins' normal bedtime, but they were already asleep.  Without their magical sleeping elixir.  Without their nighttime nursing.  Without me.  We're done.  I'm done.

I can throw away the nursing bra.  I can wear dresses again.  Someone else can put the children to bed without me.  I don't have to take the prenatal vitamins. I can stay out late if I want to.  I'm not a mother of babies anymore.  The only vestiges of babyhood left are the diapers (and we're working on that one) and the crib.

They don't even fit into the crib very well anymore.  They aren't babies anymore.

Freddie patted my breast today and said, "Mine," and signed "all done" with his hands.  Then he patted my other breast, said, "Georgie," and again signed "all done."  Yes, my dear, we are all done.  All done with that beautiful chapter of our lives together.  We'll never be close like that again, but we will stick together for all kinds of wonderful new journeys.  I love watching my children grow and develop.

And I cried myself to sleep that night.

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