I wasn’t going to write a Mother’s Day blog post, but I’m reaching a mommy milestone this weekend too coincidental to ignore. This weekend comprised some of the final days of nursing my son. And since our family is complete, my last few days of nursing ever.
It marks the end of me physically providing for my offspring, at least in the most literal sense. No more pregnancies. No more breastfeeding.
To say this is an emotional time is an understatement, but motherhood is an emotional experience. Often milestones go unnoticed, because we’ve already moved on to the new, ever-changing demands of our children. It’s only in hindsight we reflect and realize how sad or grateful (or both) we are that a stage has passed. Even seemingly happy milestones are tough because they’re shrouded in finality.
It’s fantastic that my daughter can pee in a toilet, dress herself, and explain what she wants to eat, but this also means she no longer has a baby’s bum, will let me pick out her outfit, or eat whatever I put in front of her.
Milestones are the emotional catch-22’s of parenting. And there are so many of them. This just happens to be a big one (for me, anyway) and the last time I’ll reach it. Nursing, on occasion, has been demanding, tiring, constant, and inconvenient, but also a blessing and a privilege.
My son hasn’t been an infant for a while now, but nursing him before bed was one way to hold on to his baby-ness, a period of his life that is quickly slipping through my fingers. In fact, this morning, on Mother’s Day, he learned to say the word “no.” I forget what question was asked of him, but instead of rapidly shaking his head – his norm – he most definitely, decisively, and simply told me no.
The rest of the day was filled with “no.” No, he did not want help going down the stairs. No, the hood of his raincoat was to remain down. No, he could pick out which bike he wanted by himself.
He’s learning to communicate more effectively, which will come in handy in so many situations, but part of me wants him to do the head-shaking thing forever. Just like part of me will miss being there for him in one of the most motherly ways possible.
Am I thankful to have successfully breastfed two healthy babies? Of course.
Do I look forward to keeping a bra on for an entire day? Absolutely.
Will my son and I find new ways to bond? Yes.
Did I cry when he fell asleep in my arms tonight? No comment.
So much goes into being a mother, not the least of which is juggling a little sad in with all the happy. I have many years to go before my children are totally independent (if that’s really a thing), but I’ll remember this Mother’s Day as being sort of bittersweet.
Tomorrow I’ll move on and allow myself to be absorbed by whatever my children require of me. I may even start the task of teaching my son another very important word. “Yes.”