September 20, 2010

The Very Last Time

Years ago, when my daughter was new, I bought a book by Karen Kingsbury called "Let Me Hold You Longer".   Essentially, it's about noticing the "lasts" in your child's life...the last time they wear a diaper, the last time they use a sippy cup, the last batting practice in Little League, etc. 

I cried my way through the book and promised myself that I would always try to recognize the "lasts" the way I do the "firsts".  By the way, I seriously think Karen Kingsbury should come out with a baby memory book...Camille's book is filled in the margins of her "lasts" since there no spaces for such things printed in any book!

I've found that the Lasts can be even more meaningful than the Firsts, if you can only catch them.  Here is the story of one such Last for us:

Camille and I developed an easy and comfortable nursing relationship from the start.  I loved nursing her.  She lingered over her meals, often drawing them out 45 minutes.  It was a relaxing, lazy time for both of us, which was a blessing since I worked 90 hours a week in our family business (not Cloth Diaper Outlet) and took her to work with me.  Life was stressful but our nursing times were great stress-relief. 

When Camille was about 18 months old, I started thinking about weaning.  We wanted to start trying for another child and I thought having my body to myself for a few months in between might be a good thing.  Over the next month, we worked on offering alternatives to nursing and gradually going down to one nursing a day.  Camille took to it pretty easily.  A couple of days before Christmas, I had an inkling that we might be about finished.  She went one day, then two, without asking to nurse.  The day after Christmas in 2006, I knew that Camille was done.  But I wanted my Last and I wanted it to be special. 

We were all alone at home, just Camille and me.  Everyone else was at Grandma's house eating Christmas dinner leftovers.  I cuddled Camille in my lap and she latched on.  While she nursed, I looked into her eyes and told her how much I'd loved nursing her for 19 months, how special our times were to me, and how I would never forget them.  I told her how much I loved her and that I would miss nursing her.  After a couple of minutes, she was done and ran off to play.  That was the final time we ever nursed.  And my sweetest Last so far...