Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dear Daniel, (Lucky Thirteen!) Part One

Hi sweetheart. 

I've been trying to write this one-year letter to you since, well...quite some time before you turned one. But, as things can be sometimes, your birthday was just too big of a deal for me to be able to write about it right away. I tried. (I really did—you can even ask Papa!) Here's how far I got:
A year ago today, at exactly this time (6:07AM) you were born. Holy shit.
Yep, that's it, love; I couldn't go on. So I wrote a little something expressing my complete lack of skills to be able to process and write about the moment, and then I commenced doing only the things that felt just right to celebrate your birthday. And I thought I'd be able to write about it, but then I just couldn't. So I decided that a baker's dozen is close enough to twelve for plenty of satisfied pastry consumers, and resolved to write an update this month instead.

Now here we are, a few days after your (lucky!) thirteen month birthday, and I'm still finding this task a little daunting. The thing is, you being in our family has been awesome in the truest sense of the word. You've changed my life in ways I never could've imagined. Papa and I were talking last night about your birth, and we were both overcome with an emotion that we couldn't name. You are such a delightful human being, and I'm so lucky to have you in my life: to challenge me, to teach me, to inspire me to smile when I least expect it. You're lovely.

I got to thinking a lot yesterday about breastfeeding, and how our nursing relationship has changed over its course thus far. I was thinking about it yesterday in particular, because I happen to know that I weaned myself on the 4th of July, just a month shy of my own first birthday. The extreme appropriateness of a child weaning on Independence Day is not at all lost on me, and I was looking at you while you nursed yesterday through a new lens. You have been nursing longer than your Papa or I did. I look at you now and I think, But you're still a baby, you still need to nurse. You and I both still want to continue, and so we do.

I had in my mind before you were born that I would plan to nurse you until you were at least two (the WHO recommended minimum duration of breastfeeding) and probably longer than that, if we both still wanted to. I even wrote about my intentions when you were just over ten weeks old.

I still feel that way today: I will nurse you as long as we both want to.

I still want to.

I know you still want to, also. You nurse when you've hurt yourself and need some comfort. You nurse when you're hungry and/or thirsty. (You even sign "nurse" when you want solid foods to eat; you haven't quite figured out the "food"/"eat" sign yet.) You nurse to reconnect after times when we've been apart. I know sometimes you do it just because you know you can, and I'm happy with those times, too.

The other day, you, Papa, and I were in the park having a picnic. We had biked to the store together to buy foods to eat and then to the park to lounge and eat them on our blanket. Near the end of our time there you wanted to nurse, so I nursed you "from the top" by pulling down my tank top. As we sat there in the sunshine, your Papa looked at us and smiled, and he told me he loves seeing us nurse like that in public, especially as you get older. He said he loves that I'm so confident in my body and in what we're doing, and you're getting exactly what you need in that moment.

So, that's where we are, sweet Daniel. Like writing this monthly update letter, I don't know how many more months we'll be nursing, but I'm enjoying doing it while it lasts. As you made it through your second US Independence Day and night (with bombs bursting in air and all), I was grateful for that part of our relationship.

Most of all, though, I'm grateful for you.


Stay tuned for Part Two, coming tomorrow!


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