Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thirteen Months old

Dear Stella,

One day, you will be a young woman, the same size as I. Or, if your Father's genes have anything to do with it, even taller. Our affection will consist of hearty hugs and occasional kisses on the cheek. If I am lucky, there might be moments that I can scratch your scalp and run my fingers through tendrils of your hair, or give you a shoulder rub. You will look at me with no memory of the baby you once were, and find it hard to imagine that I once cradled your whole body in my arms, and used to repeatedly kiss the soft pillows that are your cheeks. I am more familiar with your body now than I'll ever be - bathing you, changing your diapers, slathering your skin with lotion, brushing your teeth, picking boogers out of your nose, hand feeding you small morsels of food, trimming your nails, cleaning your ears, and combing your fine hair. It won't be long before your bedroom door is locked, and your modesty prevents me from seeing you in your underwear.

For these reasons, and so many more, I am extra grateful for what we currently have. We have an intimacy, made stronger by my breastfeeding you, that is very special.

I often complain of your night wakings and my clogged ducts, but if I draw my focus to the positive, I must admit that my moments of nursing you in the calm quiet of the dark night are not only beautiful, but radiate love. Because you will not remember, and will find it hard to imagine your little self being nurtured by Mama's milk, I will record our bonding here:

I wake to your cries, and try to get to you before they escalate. I know that you can hear the floorboards creaking, because you have quieted when I open your bedroom door. Your cries are now replaced with the sound of the hissing friction of your pumping fists, signing your plea for milky. I can barely see you, but know that you are standing in your crib, and feel my way to reach for your body, with a shhhh and a press of my cheek against yours.
"Yes, Stella."
I lift you into my arms and blindly take you to the living room couch. Despite the fact that we do this every night, and you should know what is coming, you are impatient as I lift up my shirt and undo my bra strap, as if this time I might deny you (?).
"Uh, uh, uh!"
You begin to nurse as I cradle you. We are usually quiet, but sometimes I hum. Lately, I find myself running my fingers through your hair, tucking it behind your ear, and tracing your soft cheek and jawline. With your free hand you squeeze my breast, pat my body, or reach for my face and ear. Sometimes, you will allow me to lightly hold your hand still. We switch sides, and it is not until you pull away and arch your back in a stretch that I know you are done. We go back to your crib where I lie you gently on your back and wrap your body with your favorite soft blanket, the one you like to suck and rub on your face. Then, I top it with the coverlet for extra warmth. Finally, I do a quick feel-around search for your binky, your sleeping aid, which I pop into your mouth. Once again, my hand, which is compelled to touch you, tenderly finds your brow and I brush back your bangs.
"I love you, Stella."

I dedicate this to my dear mother, my best friend, for what I know to be true... even if I can't remember.


Blogger Rein Morgen said...

I am so touched. I so know those feelings. I am in love with my Takoda right now. I wish he could be 2 years old forever and ever. I just love his cuteness.

4:30 AM  
Anonymous Mom G. said...

Once again my heart has been so touched with your loving letter to Stella.While reading I was brought back in time when I would hold Dan that way and look into his eyes with such awe and wonder and knowing also, like you, these days of holding him so close would come to an end.There is nothing in the world that gives such pleasure and joy as being a mother and to having the closeness you have with your mother only proves one thing..Your mother gave you that same love and it will continue with Stella as she grows older.You and Dan have parents who have so much love for the both of you and now for our darling Stella who will be writing a letter some day to her child and the love and closeness will continue for generations.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous All my love, Mom said...

Dearest Sarah,
You made me cry. This experience you are having with Stella is the stuff of universal motherhood, but it also describes the intimate relationship you and I once had. Maybe that's why being a grandmother is such a special time, because all mothers long to repeat that close proximity we once shared with our babies. Thank you for articulating those feelings in such a beautiful way.

11:52 PM  

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