sunday morning. h is doing her sunday morning ritual: meditation at the shambala center, followed by a trip to the recycling center. the boy is asleep. the girl is running around the backyard wearing a superman cape, saving uncle g from some imagined bad guy. (so much of the imaginative play is about bad guys anymore, and jude always saves the day.) clem-dog follows them around, trying not to be nervous. in fact, he follows us everywhere now; he is our only dog anymore. we’ve become the kind of family takes the dog wherever they go.
i’m hiding out in my bed for a bit, deeply feeling the achy balance of gratitude and change. my hormones are raging like pms. but.
it’s not pms. it’s the fact that my son has weaned himself. he is a very communicative boy about his wants, and he does not want to nurse. in fact, he has taken to emphatically shaking his head ‘no’ when he sees my breasts at all. message taken, sir. i’ll put them away. instead, he drinks cup after cup of hemp milk. i’m still not used to offering a cup in the middle of the night, when he wails for teething relief.
he nursed for 13 months, the last of which was completely led by me. i know that we lasted a long time, that it is enough, that we “succeeded” in our breastfeeding relationship. but.
i project way too much meaning and metaphor onto my ability to breastfeed. i own this. i talk a great deal about it in therapy. my story is unoriginal in every way: as a working mother–away from home so much–i find great solace in being the (only) one to provide a certain sustenance to my son. this one act has served as a kind of “forgiveness” of all the distance–i.e. i am still being an actual mother to my son, despite so much separation.
and yet, over the past several months, i grew too busy at work to take the time to pump. my supply dwindled. of course he wasn’t so interested anymore. why would he be? [insert all sorts of guilt about priorities here, including this past week, when i traveled to california for work, pumpless, and didn’t even think about breastfeeding at all.]
i cycle back to the beginning now: i am all kinds of hormonal with this not-pms, as my body completely resets itself to fertile mode. and so i’m giving myself a little room–a little grace–to feel the bigness of grief, of time passing, of letting go. i know that only i hear the sweeping sad score. the melancholy orchestra plays just for me. it’s only a matter of time before my body rights itself again. in the meantime, i’ll give my boy his hemp milk in the middle of the night, and let the gratitude for those stolen moments alone be enough proof of my ability to mother him.
…and now he is awake.