Mother and Child Reunion
Leo's 15th Month
I began my post last week only to discover that someone else had written one for me! This is what I wrote:
Tomorrow, for the first time since May 12th, 2009, I will wake up of my own accord. And by the end of this week, if I can somehow produce two acceptable long papers, I’ll be a Master of English Literature! This is a momentous moment. I’m writing alone in the rental house in Vermont, having driven back home for a wedding last weekend and returning alone today. I left Leo home with Aaron, and Aaron’s step-dad Steve who’s helping out for a couple days.
I’ve been thinking about this working vacation from motherhood for months. Mostly I’ve been anticipating the alone-time, the break from having to consider anyone else’s needs. And the chance to sleep in. I’ve been worried, though. Firstly--and now that the time is upon me, this feels very real: will Leo be hurt by this separation? How will he be while I’m gone, what will he be thinking, and how will he be when I get back? And, a sentimental concern: is this it for breastfeeding?
That’s right, breastfeeding, which once felt like a matter of life and death, is now just sentimental. For the past few months, in addition to the huge amount of food and cow’s milk the kid packs in every day, Leo has been nursing for a few minutes before bed and first thing when he gets up. I wonder if Leo will forget all about breastfeeding after five nights with a bottle. Nursing is a sweet remnant of babyhood that I know will not last much longer, but I don’t know whether I can let it go just yet. Too bad I forgot to bring the breastpump!
So now, a week later, what do you think? Is Leo weaned? Am I? And did he miss me terribly? The answers are…sort of, not really, and not really.
I now know that Leo is perfectly content taking a bottle, even from me, instead of nursing. I tried it. And I just missed breastfeeding. What if we don’t have another baby and I never breastfeed again? What if I quit for real and then am filled with regret? I know, he’s 15 months old and this is going to get ridiculous at some point. In fact, since I took a week off and my supply is way down, I’m just nursing Leo once a day, and he seems to show only polite interest. Breastfeeding is on its way out. A week from now we may be done. But heaven knows not because I’ve been rushing things along!
I was relieved to hear that Leo had a great time last week and that he did fine without me. I worried a little, and missed him a lot. I got back late at night and when I went in the next morning to get him, he gave me a sort of ‘oh hi’ look and was happy to nurse. No huge bear hugs, no tears of relief and joy. Just, well of course, there you are. Isn’t that best, really? I want Leo to know that I always come back. And sometimes, I do want to sneak away for a bit. Waking up on my own last week, for the first time in 15 months—it was pretty amazing.