The Last Time

Four days until my vacation and things are getting emotionally hairy.

Every time I bring Rylan to the breast I think to myself “How many more times will he nurse? 15?” And then I cry my little eyes out. I realize I’m taking a huge risk, leaving for 8 days and leaving him cold-turkey without breastmilk. I know that I am taking the chance that he won’t be interested in nursing when I return. I’m doing it for my own sanity, because he has been attached to me (and thus, my breasts) for a year and a half and I need a great big breather before I embark on the NEXT year and a half.

We’ve been trying to figure out whether to bring Rylan on the 3 hour trek to the airport. It’s a 6 hour roundtrip for him, and I doubt he’ll do well in the car. And yet ,I can’t bear to leave him with someone. I need to bring him to nurse one last time before I board that plane. I need to stretch it out until the last possible moment. I don’t care where, sitting on a bench right before I go into Security. Wherever, whenever, whatever. And I don’t care who sees me sobbing and snotty. This could be The Last Time.

Here’s an article I read when Rylan was a newborn. It didn’t mean much to me then. Weaning seemed so far away. Now, I read it and it hits so close to home. Very powerful.

Remembering the Last Time
By Robin Rennells
Raleigh NC USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 22 No. 1, January-February 2005, pp. 8
I have vivid memories of the first time I nursed each of my two daughters. However, I don’t remember the last time I nursed my oldest one. I know that she was about two and a half because I wrote that much in her baby book, but the details of our last experience as a nursing pair escape my memory. I wish I could remember where we were, exactly when it was, how I felt.

And now with my second daughter, I seem determined to remember “the last time.” This is a trickier task than one might imagine because we just keep on nursing. She will soon be three and has been gradually weaning for a long time.

Several times there have been events and situations in our lives when I thought she might wean. The first big one was when she was a little over two years old. After much deliberation, I decided to fly to see my brother and his wife after the birth of their first daughter. I wanted to help my sister-in-law and support them as new parents. My youngest daughter, Faith, was only nursing once or twice a day and she was used to having daddy put her to bed sometimes. My parents agreed to come stay in my home and care for the girls while I went on the trip.

I pumped twice a day while I was gone, getting only small amounts of milk each time. I had decided that if she weaned while I was gone, it was okay, but I wanted it to be her decision. Before I left, I tried to be completely present during our nursing sessions. Instead of letting my mind wander to my to-do list or watching television, I concentrated only on my daughter and this experience we had shared so many times. I did not know if this would be it and I wanted it imprinted in my memory.

Within hours of my return from the trip, she looked up at me with an impish grin and said, “Mama, can we nurse?” Wow! I was gone for four days and she latched on as though we had just nursed that morning.

About six weeks later, my daughters went to stay with my parents about two hours from our home for four days. Again, I thought that this could be it. This time I didn’t pump. This apparently had no impact on my daughter, because again, soon after reuniting, she settled down to nurse.

So, we are nursing still and I still wonder when will be the last time and if I’ll even realize when it is. I imagine I won’t. So, until that day comes, I am enjoying this time and this closeness we have, because I know it will end sooner or later. I may not remember the specifics of the last time we nurse, but I will have years (and years) of happy nursing memories.

3 Responses to “The Last Time”

  1. 1 jewel February 6, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    omg I am crying……

  2. 2 antropologa February 8, 2007 at 2:59 am

    Oh Estella, I’m so sorry. I’ve been thinking about you. Obviously I don’t know what this is like, this possible passing of something so important between you. I hope you can get back to how things are now when you return, and if you can’t, I know you two will still have a wonderful relationship.

  3. 3 amygeekgrl February 8, 2007 at 6:33 am

    what a sweet story.

    hugs to you, mama.

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