To my youngest daughter on her weaning day

I remember the day you were born, when you nursed so hard and long that your tiny stomach was hard as a rock and you couldn't even breathe. I remember the day you weaned yourself at 13 months when I put you off once too many and you decided your pacifier was more reliable than your mother for comfort. 

I remember the day I started giving you a bottle because I had to wean your brother so he wouldn't drink my poisonous milk during cancer treatment. I remember the day I took your bottle away and you begged me to nurse you and I couldn't do it because my milk was still poisonous. I remember the day you quit talking and walking and couldn't even hug me back, and I gave you a bottle because for some reason, on that horrible day, the one thing you could remember was how to suck.

I remember the day my milk came in 6 months after I lost my baby, and I cried in the shower, and I cried all around the house, and you licked the milk off my shirt and asked me if you could nurse again. I remember three days later when I decided I would say yes, and I nursed you, a tall 3 year old, and wondered if it was the right thing to do. I remember your next doctor's appointment when the doctor said that you had finally started growing again after not growing for almost 10 months. I remember his sweet smile when I told him I had started nursing you again, and all the things he told me about fatty acids and protein chains and DHA and GLA that you couldn't get from anywhere else, and how that was healing your brain.

I remember a month ago when my oncologist told me I couldn't put off my cancer scan any longer. I remember my eyes squeezing shut, and the vision of that poisonous blue pill, and the memory of how I would feel when I nursed....again...for the very last time. I remember the taste of the sage tea that dries up my milk so I don't get breast cancer from the radiation.

And now the day has come. I nursed you for the last time...again. We giggled together and it just felt perfectly right, like it has all this time, to be nursing you. And totally wrong as the sage tea burns my throat and my heart aches for not nursing you anymore.

But you are taller now - 3 inches taller than you were when I started nursing you. You are learning not to cry when your brain fritzes out, and you are learning to chew and chew even when you hate the texture of the solid food we feed you. You are learning your alphabet again, and sometimes you can count all the way to 8, and you love babies and are potty trained all over again. You are talking, walking, jumping, hopping, squealing, loving, all day long.

I think you are ready. And I know I am not.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.
~ from Ecclesiastes 3 ~

I am thankful for all of it.
Learning not to lose you by making something else my treasure.
Getting to keep you when you walked to death's door...and turned back to us.
Nursing you, despite all the looks askance, with milk for the baby we won't meet till heaven.
Watching you grow up and away.

Everything beautiful in it's time.
December 26th, 2010