I wake up to Addie crying out for me. I groggily look at the clock: 5:45. Before I go into her room to get her, I grab some dried green beans (her current favorite snack) and a bottle of milk and put them next to our bed. Then I open the door and muster my happiest voice, “Hey sweetie!” We go back into my room and she happily shouts out to her daddy. Instead of lying down together and letting her nurse (the one time a day she still nurses), I sit her down on the bed and offer her the green beans and the milk.
She grabs a green bean and starts munching, so I lie down next to her. She points to my chest and gives me an inquisitive look. “Bah-boos?”
“No more bah-boos, right sweetie?”
She pauses for a moment, as though processing the idea. Then she smiles and nods. “Bah-bye Bah-boos!” She eats a few more green beans, has some milk and just like that, she’s weaned.
That was Friday morning, and she hasn’t nursed since. The last time I nursed her was Thursday morning and, while I thought it might be the last time, I definitely wasn’t sure. I had been encouraging her to wean for a month or two, but it had never quite worked. So over the last week or so I started talking to her about how we were going to stop nursing soon. I told her that we would have her favorite food when she woke up instead of nursing. I told her that it was time to say bye-bye to the bah-boos. I guess she understood.
I was ready to stop nursing. She’s almost 20 months and it seemed like enough. I didn’t want to still be nursing when I go to New York in August for BlogHer’12. I didn’t want her to nurse for another year or so, which is what I was afraid would happen if we didn’t stop soon. I was ready.
Still, though. It’s sad. It’s a transition, stuck in the middle of another major transition. A chapter of our life is over and even though I’m excited about what’s next, the whole process is bittersweet.
Every moment of a child’s life is a process of growth and separation. Addie has now passed a major mark in her process of separating from me. It’s necessary, it’s inevitable, it’s beautiful in its own way. But damn. It’s a mess of emotions for me.
She’s such a big girl these days. Not to sound like a broken record, but I can’t believe how fast she’s growing up. Why didn’t anyone warn me that motherhood would be not only intensely and wonderfully beautiful, but also heartbreaking? Whenever I stop long enough to notice, it seems I’m meeting my daughter all over again, and mourning the girl she used to be. At this milestone, the mourning seems to be weighing more heavily. And yet, the girl that she is now is so incredible, I can’t mourn for long. I love her more than anything.