Monday, May 2, 2016

A Child All Her Own

I snapped this picture in the early hours one morning, before the sun was all the way up. Before you were really awake. You held your arctic fox and we were entangled, sharing milk for the last time. We had talked about weaning and you decided you weren't quite ready, but I knew you would be soon so I wanted to take a picture every time you nursed in case it was the last.

This particular time was unusual. It was so early in the morning that we'd typically just sleep through. It reminded me very much of when you were a newborn. You'd wake up at night and all you needed was me, and everything was quiet in the whole house. Just us, together, nursing, peaceful. It seemed like we could be the only people up in the entire world, just you and I in that silence.

You were born and you were nursing every hour. Then you became a toddler and you were nursing several times a day and all throughout the night. You grew into a big kid and you nursed before every nap, and before bedtime. When you were hurt, or sad, or lonely. Sharing milk was your home base. 4 years, 3 months, 15 days.

One morning you woke up and proudly declared, "I'm weaned!" And just like that, you decided you were ready to become a child all your own.

We had talked about weaning before this day, and I explained this to you. That when you were growing into a baby in my womb we shared one body. You could feel my heartbeat and I could feel your movement and we were very much a part of each other. Then, when you were born, we were still very much a part of each other, totally entangled. I held you close, slept with you, nursed you day and night. We could not be without the other. As you grew and became independent, we still shared this link between us. An invisible string that kept us together in this world as an inseparable part of each other. We talked about how weaning is a very special occasion, and one day, when you are ready we'll be able to celebrate you going into the world apart from me, as a child all your own. 

That day came and you were so proud of yourself, so confident and ready. It was a very special day, so we went to a very special place. We walked up still as one unit, holding hands. And then you crossed by yourself. Out into the world. Weaned. A child all your own! A very special thing to celebrate.

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