The day you were born was one of the happiest days of my life. I still remember the cool, softly-textured feel of your arms as you lay across my chest, being cleaned off by the nurse.
You were crying, but once I started speaking to you, the tears stopped. Perhaps you recognized the divine bond that we share as mother and daughter. Perhaps you simply recognized the sound of my voice from the time you spent inside of my body.
Whatever it was, it was enough to make my mother’s heart swell with joy.
Shortly after your birth, I tried something new (and frightening, if I may be honest.) I placed you up to my chest to nurse you for the first time. You took to my breast eagerly and without pause. I unleashed a sigh of relief – and exhaustion – as you drifted off to sleep.
As my milk supply increased and became sweeter, so did you, little one. You developed the thickest rolls on your arms and legs, a physical sign of your mother’s selfless love. You started rolling over, sitting up, and even eating delicious cereals.
It was about this time that people began to question how much longer you and I would share in this physically and spiritually nourishing bond, to which I would respond, “I will probably continue until she is at least one year old.”
Once we hit that milestone and you were walking, talking, and eating thicker foods, the next round of questions began, to which I replied, “I will probably continue until she is at least 18 months old.”
Of course, that milestone came and went, and here we are, at almost two and a half years of age, and you are ready to give my breast up in exchange for expressed almond “milk”. You are so very independent, drinking from cups with no lids and walking to the fridge in search of a delicious snack. It seems unfair to want to hold you back.
I am almost embarrassed to admit this, but from my viewpoint, dissolving our natural bond was easier for you than it was for me. Where we used to doze off together, with you attached to my chest and snuggling so close, you now fall asleep squeezing onto your mermaid blabla while I lay awake, studying the face of a big girl ready and waiting to take on the world.
You have grown and changed so much in these past two years. So have I. You have grown into a beautiful and brilliant little girl. I have grown into a mother.
While you teach me the importance of letting go, I pray that you will want to stay close. Although you will no longer be physically attached to my chest, you will always be in my heart. And that, my dear, is for the best.