As you may be aware, we have four kids. For a few months now, I have felt like it was time for me to wean our youngest. However, it was only last month that it felt like both of us were ready. It started out with missing a day or two, then she stopped nursing in the morning. Then, one night, she didn't nurse at all.
The next night she asked to nurse, and we talked about it being "okay" to stop nursing, that mama would always love her, but that we could just sing and snuggle instead of nursing. (She said "uh-huh" to this, but since she is two, she says that to everything, so I wasn't entirely sure of her level of understanding!)
With our other children, I had weaned them, but not fully known it was coming until all of a sudden it was done, and I felt sad that I hadn't paid attention to the last time I nursed, since I felt it was an important transition for each of them as well as me.
So as I approached this process, I wanted to be conscious. This is our last child, and I wanted to complete this period in my life, acknowledge the transition, and complete it gracefully. So every night, my daughter and I would talk about it. And some nights she nursed, and some nights she didn't.
Then, two Saturdays ago, she nursed. And then Sunday, Monday and Tuesday she didn't. On Wednesday she indicated that she wanted to, but I figured that she had gone this long without nursing that she was well on her way to weaning, so I offered her a bottle, instead. And she was fine.
I was a little uncomfortable, but I knew that this would pass.
This was the first child I weaned with whom I was able to identify the end, acknowledge it, and move on.
I know that my experience around nursing for this amount of time is not one that many can relate to, but I also know that every person has many, many "last times."
Ever said goodbye to someone, knowing you would not see them again? Ever kissed your beloved and known it was the last? Or said goodbye to someone who was dying and thanked them for being in your life?
Conscious completion of milestones is what I'm referring to.
What about you? How do your transitions occur? Do you have time to recognize and prepare for them? Are you able to slow down enough to catch those "firsts" and "lasts"?
Ever heard the saying "It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away"? That is what I'm referring to, and the anonymous poet said it better than I ever could.
Yes, life is busy.
Yes, there's lots to do.
And yes, time is money (for many)
But I would assert that simply paying attention to your life, consciously, will bring a richness to those "last times" that weren't previously acknowledged. If nothing else, it'll be good for future reference!