Today is my 703rd day of nursing you. Both. I didn’t set out to nurse you at all, or not to. When you were growing in my belly I told myself I’d have no expectations for this—that I’d let our path be our path. Back then I never dreamed our path would take us to your being 1 month shy of two years old and all of us still attached together.
I was that woman who, before I was pregnant, would say I’d never nurse my kids when they could ask for it. That’s just weird, my former self would confide to others. My current self is the mother of twins who have been announcing “I nurse” for months and who finds it to be the most endearing statement you make. Parenthood, it seems, provides a continual opportunity to eat the words you spoke before you before you knew better.
Back when we started nursing I told myself I’d continue as long as it worked. It worked through infant twins feeding every two hours around the clock, double mastitis, two winters of pumping and ice climbing, six business trips to four states, and 32 new teeth. Whenever I thought of stopping the only thing that made sense was for it to happen organically—ie, the natural end point for the as-long-as-it-works strategy.
Tomorrow, if I can stand it, I’ll nurse you in the morning for our last time. And then I’ll get on a plane and spend ten days away from you. Is that a natural end point? Inasmuch as my career creates one, yes. But for us as a three-pack? That I do not know.
What I do know is that this basic, animalistic connection and existence has given more peace and certainty to my life and my soul than anything else I have ever done. When we are with each other like this there is no doubt it’s what I’m made to do in that moment. And for a person who multitasks most everything in her life and almost never slows down, it’s given me singular focus and breath and ease.
Intellectually I know we’re on a trajectory together that has us all growing and changing. Emotionally, however, I don’t want anything to do with this trajectory. I want to keep you here tucked next to me so that I can forever keep you safe, me safe, dad safe, and all of us fresh and new. But life is about movement and change and newness, and the two of you embody the definition of being alive. So today, instead of resisting this change and what it is bringing I’m going to celebrate what we’ve done together.
Here is to you, Irenna and Kaz, and here is to us. Thank you for letting me be your mom and giving me a chance to share my love with you like this every day for the past 703 days. Thank you for grounding me this intensely for this long. Maybe it’s what I needed to slow down long enough to really understand that this new life—the one with you in it—is the life I was headed for all along.