It’s Over

It was a long day and I was glad for the distraction of the Broncos’ celebration parade, Facebook, and last night’s X-Files episode on Hulu (Cause I don’t watch that stuff at night. EVER. Anymore. )

I’ve known for weeks that Little Sister’s birthday would be a big moment of transition for all of us. There is something about that first birthday… whether they are hitting those milestones in a timely manner or not, another bit of that teeny tiny baby you brought home from the hospital just… slips away.

After her birthday dinner, a quick bath, and a quick DIY photo shoot… I sang her happy birthday as her birth TIME appeared on my phone. Got her dressed in her pajamas. Suctioned out the masses of boogers out of her nose (for the HUNDREDTH time TODAY). Put some orajel on that 5th tooth popping through her gums. (It was a rough day for her too!) And started setting the scene…

I found the nursing pillow that I’ve used for both of my children and put it on my glider. I took one of the Aden&Anais muslin blankets out of the drawer I have kept them in for the last 3 years… and I chose the one with the cherry blossoms, cause it has always been my favorite. I turned off all of the lights, except the nightlight by the door. Turned on the humidifier.

It looked like every other evening I have had this entire year…

I sat down and got choked up as I snapped down the corner of my nursing tank. The one that has always been so comfortable.

And as she latched, I was quickly reminded that it had been 5 days since I’d nursed, and OUCH, cause Little Sister was still getting used to those teeth! It was a little bit of reality amidst the sentimentality… “Oh, right… yeeaaah…. this is one part I won’t miss.”

But she found her groove, and we settled in without any more discomfort. My phone was on to take a picture of our last time… but she grabbed my thumb in her hand and held it.

The way she used to nurse all the time… at the beginning… but hadn’t done in months. Cue more tears.

I got my picture when she started playing with the straps of my shirt, the blanket, my face… and then we changed sides. Again, a bit of discomfort to bring me back for a quick second, before we got comfortable…. and she fell asleep.

So incredibly peaceful.

And suddenly I was remembering her whole life… the nights I was so tired, it hurt to stay awake to feed her, but how I tried so hard to soak it all in every single time, because I knew how I’d feel when the day came that she no longer needed me that way.

Over and over, in my head, I just kept thinking, “It went too fast! It went too fast! I was intentional, and it still went too fast!! It was also hard, and beautiful, and had ugly, human moments, and painful, and joyful (her first laughs happened while she was sound asleep in my arms, belly full), and emotional, and I know it’s time…. but… but…IT WENT TOO FAST!”

Before I knew it, and after taking in as much detail as I could (her breaths, her eyelids, the nightlight, her cheeks, the crib, the pictures hanging on the walls) she was full and asleep…. and I was empty.

So, I put her on my shoulder, the way I’ve done every night and after every feeding… I gently pat her back until a small burp slips out. She is nuzzled against my shoulder and is just starting to get long enough to have to bend her legs in order to sleep on my chest. (With all my understanding about seasons and phases… I never realized that a child would actually outgrow sleeping on your shoulder, until suddenly my older daughter didn’t really fit anymore…)

So I let her sleep.

And the tears started to fall.

How do I let go of this moment?? How do I actually say to myself… “Ok, Aris.  It’s done.” ????

I held her longer than I normally do, but eventually the salt from my tears started to burn my cheeks, and my stomach was starting to growl, since I hadn’t eaten yet.

I stood up and walked her to her crib. I slipped out of her room and the tears are streaming again.

I walk out to the living room where Darling Husband seems surprised that I am still crying.

(I should mention here, that I rarely cry under normal circumstances. And when I do, it is silent and brief. I usually save my tears for the shower, if I can… cause it just feels better to cry in warm water.)

I heat up my Wendy’s french fries in the microwave and pick up my (now cold) cod sandwich. I head over to the couch and sit by him. I start to eat and he asks “Is it pretty good?”

And it’s not. Cause the fish is cold, and dry, and my french fries have been microwaved… and I just put my one-year-old to bed, with the last milk I’ll ever make in her stomach.

And I lose it.

With my mouth full of french fry and fish…. I am WEEPING, out loud, for probably the first time in our 9 years of marriage. I couldn’t control it. Sounds and tears were happening all over the place…

And I mourned.

That might seem silly to some, but that is how it felt to me. I’m not exaggerating or embellishing. It’s like a part of my life, and who I am, and what I’ve done, is gone… and I will never get to be that, do that, experience that… again.

After the sobbing stopped… but the tears kept coming, Darling Husband asked if I wanted ice cream.

(He knows me so well.)

And we prayed and thanked God for helping him sell 3 cars today, because he hasn’t sold any in a while. God has provided for us! And Darling Husband prayed for me… peace and excitement for the future.

And we turned on an episode of “The Office” (US)

And I am going to be ok.

Life is moving forward and there are so many moments, so many WONDERFUL moments just waiting for my family.

But I needed today, and tonight, and a way to honor this milestone and grieve it.

Thanks for letting me do that here.


Astoria, Oregon: July 2010                                   copyright Aris Greene


1 thought on “It’s Over

  1. My Dear First Blessing,
    The movie I played in my mind as I read each and every word was blurred….as were the words themselves….because I felt EVERY ONE of them. Some from just picturing your every move in each description, some from knowing the closeness that only a mother knows while nursing her baby…..the miracle and awesomeness that God equips us to sustain the very lives that He creates within our bodies. MY tears were a silent, yet steady stream as I mourned with you…..because….I KNOW that there will be a few more moments of mourning for you as your precious gifts from The Lord make their way to independence in this life….and each time the feeling of premature closures to what mothering means….. the way I did when I saw your closed bedroom blinds from the highway as I returned home after leaving you at college. The closed chapters are SO HARD to leave, but the new ones promise SO MANY more blessings and laughs and moments of overflowing thankfulness. Sometimes I found peace in just knowing that I did my very best to live each moment with you and your sister…..I LOVED EVERY STAGE, and I loved YOUR love for ME! At the end of all of the childhood chapters of the Mommy Book, there is another miraculous transformation…..of the book, ITSELF! – It changes from a calendar book into a PRICELESS scrap book! One that you will be able to open and share with your (then grown-up) daughter and friend.
    I love you and your gift of painting with words what so many people feel inside.


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