Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Treasure of Nurslings

It's these moments that paralyze me.  But not in a bad way.  I want to stay in this moment forever.  Not move.  Not even dare breathe.  Drink it all in.

I'm nursing my baby and I want to freeze time.

She is my number six and she just turned a year old.  I can't decide how I feel about it.  Do I need to feel anything at all?

Her big brown eyes keep closing, opening.  Closing once more.  She grabs gently with her tiny fingers against my skin.  The other kids want my attention, I can tell, even if they aren't daring to open my bedroom door again.  But I'm hiding out in this room, the hum of the AC in the window, the entire measure of the moment with a single thought: Stay right here.

I tried earlier to get her to sleep.  Noise in the house and a barrage of constant interruptions kept her from making that last slip into peaceful slumber.  She had been on the cusp but wouldn't unlatch or she'd fitfully wake and reach out for me with her pursed lips and desperate cry. It continued on and on like this and there was no getting past it. I had no choice at one point but to let her stay up, let her play, hope she got tired again soon.

After lunch, she had had it.  She was in my arms and nursing in the living room. I moved back to the bedroom once more to see if she'd finally let sleep steal her away.  As I listened to her breathing change, her small chest rising and falling ever more slowly, I realized that yes, this would be that moment.  I stroked her forehead and watched her face change.

In this season of life, I don't think there is anything sweeter than the slow fluttering of the eyes of a nursling as she tries to steal one last look at her mama, the soft cooing and that sweet gentle smile as she drifts off to sleep at my breast.

And I can't help but wonder if she will be my last.  Will she be the last baby I nurse to sleep?  Will these be my last moments with her in this part of our relationship?  How soon will it change?  This one feels different somehow, our moments together more weighty; the urgency to slow down and treasure them, fierce.  It wasn't quite the same with my other babies.  With them, there was more of an urgency to break away, to be impatient. To get the job done, tuck them in, roll away and dash.  Much to do, other kids to take care of.

She has changed me.  Time has changed me.

As I review the last year, gone far more lickety-split than the first years of my other babes, I am convicted.  I'm convicted to slow down. To focus. To watch. To treasure.  This season of my life is fleeting.  Fast.  Some day too soon, she will have nurslings of her own.  And I will have but memories, dusty in my mind.

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