Olive and I have started the slow process of weaning, which means that I am just nursing her morning and night, except for the occasional you-just-got-four-shots-at-the-dr. comfort nurse. It also means that my boobs regularly feel like they weigh about 15 lbs each. Madeleine L’Engle in The Irrational Season called weaning letting “the infant-that-was go, go forever.” and says that it is “part of that essential letting go, letting him move on to child, little boy, young man … Love, and let go. Love, and let go (p.115).”
It is hard to let the infant Olive go. She has been such a joy, and although I look forward to getting to know the child Olive, I want our deep connection to continue. When Olive nurses, we are both in our animal selves, and I call her “my little mammal”. The primal-ness of motherhood never ceases to amaze me, and it is the fierce animal ties between us that make it so hard to let go. Kahlil Gibran has wonderful wisdom about how to do this:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
I strive to be Olive’s stable bow, and to let her truly fly.
I will always be there when she lands.