Couldn’t be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters”
The other day, I made a bottle of formula for Rider, and it was the first bottle of formula I’d ever made for any baby. I can’t stress enough that I fully stand in the “feed your baby” camp and that means whatever is age-appropriate and makes you both feel great. However, I just never had to do anything except breastfeed and introduce solids at six months (maybe 5 1/2 months in Des’ case). Those last times I nursed – did I know they were the last times? Did I feel bittersweet and sad/relieved? Des was 12 months and not interested in nursing due to an ear infection, so I had no trouble stopping that last feed. Scarlet was 15/16 months and she stopped asking or maybe I stopped offering. I don’t know how old Rider will be, but I can kiss the tender days of exclusive breastfeeding goodbye, I think, and I’m ecstatic. And maybe also a little crushed/sad/relieved.
So close, no matter how far, and I wonder what the future holds. I feel peace that we survived the first night of a supplemental feeding. I went seven hours without breastfeeding him and although it was uncomfortable, when he did wake to feed around 11:11 (make a wish) he was more thorough with a better latch. And I felt great after the feeding. As you know, nursing has not gone easily this time around, for some reason, or a number of reasons – all with maybe one or two foundations. I’m figuring them out, in the care of trusted professionals. It was my own firm decision to drop a session, wait a few days for my body to catch up, and then maybe drop another session. And even another? I’m not trying to fully wean, yet, but I’m trying to see what feels best. I’d love to make it to six months, and even 12 months, but I realize I won’t get there if I don’t make some adjustments and give my body a break. Just one dropped session; maybe two.
Besides, seeing Cassidy bottle-feed him is simply adorable. I got to see that a few times after pumping, but since pumping mostly pushed me further into this misery, it wasn’t sustainable.
I don’t know what’s on the other side of this, but it helps to trust in the process. In my family, we have a tendency to say to one another, “See you on the other side!” I think we got it from “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and it came in handy when Scarlet and Cassidy traveled to Panama, while I took Des to Atlanta. In the beginning of the pandemic, I thought about what the other side of it would look like. I saw it as a singular moment in a singular day. One minute, we decide, it’s just over. We all go dancing in the streets. We hug and clasp hands and kiss on the cheeks.
Now I know it’s not like that – it’s messy and complicated and uneven. Some people are already dancing in the streets. Some are hidden underground. I think we’ll creep out, little by little, into the light – scared and confused and hopeful. Maybe we’ll stop wearing masks, but one by one, dropped and forgotten – into glove compartments and laundry baskets and pockets. One day, years from now, will we remember the last day we had to wear a mask to hug our own mothers?
Will we know when it’s the last time? Or will it fade from memory; its colors bleeding into other memories and feelings and fears and storms. Other hope. Nothing else matters, but moments.
It’s crazy to me, not that there is another side from this, but that as hopeless as it seems to get from here to there, we will. So many journeys we are on, and sometimes we don’t even realize we’re on them until we’re already on the other side. And how did we get there? I know it seems insurmountable at times, like a storm that will never stop battering your shores, or a mountain full of jagged and crumbling pieces that send you spiraling back down, every time. The only way over and out, is through. So you get these chances to own up or break up, lock down, clamp down, or break down. There’s an astonishing freedom through the pain; the chance to see the stark rainbow through the fog. What else matters? Nothing. It feels so close, no matter how far, and so far, no matter how close. We don’t always know when these last moments are the last moments, and we don’t know where our journeys end, or more likely, wrap themselves around other journeys as they ribbon their ways around your mountains and your shores. Excruciating.
“Last evening, her son called to tell me a message from my dear friend. She loved me, I was very important to her and she was saying good bye. She was too weak to speak to me. I dreamed that I held her in my arms as she was dying. We floated over a crib and she was light as a feather. I awakened in the middle of the night. My grief was suffocating, palpable, and loud. I looked out the window but the world was silent, enrobed in a velvety white. It has been snowing for two days. I think it will snow forever. I also think that no act is ever random but the furthest thing from it.”
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don’t just say
And nothing else matters”