Yesterday was your Big Boy Day. In our family, that’s what we call the day our babies (or toddlers) stop nursing. Maybe someday you will be embarrassed about this, about the documentation of this date just after you turned 2 and a half. But at this moment you feel no shame. Only pride in yourself and a little bit of grief over the loss of our comfort together.
You are such a big kid for being my little baby. You speak so clearly and can communicate all your thoughts to me. When I was having some misgivings about yesterday and all that it entailed, you set me straight. Within 10 minutes you built a Lego tower taller than you, helped me mop the kitchen floor, and had a coherent phone conversation with your daddy. Thank you for that, sweetie. I needed the reassurance that you would be okay.
I don’t talk much about nursing you, and I rarely do it in public anymore. The truth is, most people think I should have stopped nursing you long ago. A few others think I should wait until you wean yourself at 3 or 4. A precious few understand what you and I know: that yesterday was the day chosen by you and by me. It was the perfect day to end our nursing relationship. No matter how up-and-down it’s been to nurse you for the last year, I wouldn’t have chosen any other day.
Since I’m being honest, I will say that I’ve been ready to wean you for awhile now. You are, oops- were, a pretty demanding nurser and it’s caused me a fair bit of embarrassment in public, a lot of missed sleep, and some physical pain as well. But you, more than any of the other kids so far, have helped me grow. I’m a less selfish person than I was when you were born. And while I may have been ready, you were not. So I waited.
The most embarrassing experience I had nursing you was when you wailed the word “NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRSSSSSE” at Mass in our little cafeteria chapel in South Korea. I couldn’t get you outside fast enough and the whole congregation, a kind and loving group if I ever met one, just smiled and giggled. Looking back now through the lenses of nostalgia and love, I can’t believe I was embarrassed. How many times have I cried out for comfort to Our Lord and Our Lady? Thank goodness they never turned me away.
All the sleeplessness, all the pain, all the frustration was only a tiny fraction of our nursing relationship. Most of our time was filled with soft voices, warm skin, of drowsy nursing, of delightful and hilarious conversations. Those precious moments filled my heart with joy in the same way I filled your belly with milk. Those are the moments I will remember when I look back.
I love you, baby.
Linking up with a very loose interpretation of “Shame” for Theme Thursday. Click on over to find people who follow the rules.