I had a moment's panic over that. See, I'd always thought that I'd give up breastfeeding only reluctantly, that I would clutch my sleepy toddler to me and sob during what I knew to be the last time, that I would miss it and mourn its passing. In fact, I originally planned to tandem-nurse boy and this next baby, and only started scaling back boy's nursing when I realized that 1) nursing while pregnant was making me dehydrated and therefore even more prone to nausea, and 2) if I added breastfeeding-sharing to all the other sibling-factors that boy was already going to have to deal with when the baby arrived, I was probably only making it harder for him in the long run. Anyway, it came as a bit of a shock to me that The Last Time had come and gone without commemoration of some kind.
The truth is, I guess we were both ready for the end. Boy had gotten down to only some token nursing before he fell asleep (at nap- and bedtime), and he was prone to twisting around, pinching me while he partook, and fiddling with my hair and clothes in a way that wasn't *exactly* the idyllic nursing of an older child that I'd envisioned. I'd pretty much had enough of the biting and pulling and pinching and bra-strap-snapping. It was kind of like trying to nurse a rambunctious puppy with the social habits of a seventh-grader.
Still, though, I find that I'm a little heartbroken. And it's because this is just one more of the many countless times or experiences in my son's life that I will never, ever be able to get back again. I can't hold him again as a newborn or a six-month-old. I can't ever again watch him learn to crawl or walk. The soft spot that once graced the top of his head is long since grown closed. He doesn't have that BABY smell anymore. The movements of his hands are deliberate and accurate now, and while watching him maneuver a toy car down his garage ramp is a symphony of beauty to me, I miss the hiccup-y wavings of his once-chubby fists.
I really thought, when I looked forward to becoming a mother, that once my child came to me, I wouldn't have to start letting go of him until he walked away from me on his first day of school. But that was naive and short-sighted. I know that now. The truth is that the second he was born, he started growing and changing in ways that I had to see, acknowledge, and release into the world. As much as I try to recognize the fact that my son isn't truly mine, but God's -- as much as I try to understand that he's come THROUGH me into the world, not TO me -- sometimes it's just impossible.
Sometimes I just want to hug my baby and hold him tight to me and never let him go.