I know to many it is simply unfathomable to have a child still nursing at age 2. I didn't plan it that way. But from day one of Lacey's life, she has been my very attached little nursling. We have had a remarkable bond in so many ways. I thought it was because for so long, I had ached for a daughter. I'm not sure how or why, but we are uniquely bonded. Don't misunderstand me, I love and adore my sons. After all, they were first. They taught me what it was to be a mother, to be selfless. They taught me that I could love someone so deeply it hurt. They taught me what real fear was when they needed stitches or had a high fever. I would have done anything to take their place. My boys are my heartbeat and my breath.
Back to Lacey - we recently accomplished a huge feat, and marked a milestone in her life and mine. For weeks and weeks I had talked with Lacey off and on all day about how when she wakes at night, she doesn't need her “milky,” as she calls it, to go back to sleep. She hasn't nursed during the day for over a year, but sleep and nursing at night have been an issue. I told her she could close her eyes and hold me tight and she could go back to sleep without it. And yes, I'm playing musical beds from hers to mine, but it is working. So I would quiz her all day about what she would do when she woke up – no crying and no milky. Close your eyes, hold me tight.
I've tried this for weeks and it always ended in at least an hour of wailing and then me, exhausted, giving in. I'm not a “cry-it-out” parent, by the way. Doesn't fit into my philosophy in the least. But, to each his own.
Last night was different. Lacey was in her bed by 8. By midnight I heard her on the monitor call for me. Of course, she wanted her “milky.” I reminded her, as I have over and over, that she didn't need it. She looked hurt, her little bottom lip quivering. I looked at her and said, “I love you, I'm so proud of you. I know you can do it.” Then, like a veil had been lifted, she gave me a huge, ear to ear, dimplelicious smile. She closed her eyes. And when I thought she was back to sleep, I suddenly felt her tiny, warm hand slip into mine and she squeezed my hand tight. I don't know how she knew I needed her to hold my hand. Yes, I needed it. Here for the first time in almost 2.5 years, I thought she didn't need me. It was a bittersweet moment. My baby was now a little girl. When I felt her hand slip into mine, it was evidence of our bond. It was there, hopefully forever. I'll admit, I was the one doing all the bawling. I drifted to sleep with a tear soaked pillow. How I will miss our quiet, “milky” time together. But I am, so proud of her. She is a dream come true.
My children bring me such happiness. There are some days when I think if I hear, “Mama, can I” one more time I'll need a straight jacket, but usually there is more happy than sad.
Caleb and Dylan hold up traffic every morning at the drop off at school. They have to give me a kiss and tell me they love me before they will exit the van. I love how they always ask me to have prayer with them, just the two of them, before they go to sleep.
I think if, hopefully many, many years from now, when it is my time to leave this earth, if I have my boys there, once again to “hold up traffic,” to tell me they love me and kiss my cheek I will have had a successful life. And, if in my last breaths, my sweet daughter slips her hand in mine once again, I know I will have lived my life to the fullest. My children will be my accomplishment and the reason for being on this earth.