Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blanket

Lilly has a blanket. She has been attached to it for a while now.
But a few weeks ago, I when I began to wean her, her blanket became her lifeline.

No matter how cumbersome it was, she took it everywhere.
She loves it.
They were very hard days.
She was sad. She was angry. She was bitter, like a lover refused.
She didn't understand.
How could I deny her this thing she loved? This thing that gave her comfort and made her feel safe and happy?
She wanted me to hold her a lot.
Her and blanket.
She asked me often, "milky?" Sometimes she would cry and plead, "Milky? Milky?"
And sometimes she would hit the chair where I nursed her and scream, MILKY!!!!"
Oh yes, it was rough.

I can't explain to her that it is time. It isn't just the new baby that is coming. It isn't just that I don't really want her pulling at my shirt in public anymore. How can I explain to her? It is just time.
It was so different with the boys. They were done long before I was. I was the one holding on and wishing they would too, just a little bit longer. If you are a mother you know what I mean. There is something very terrible about the day that you stop nursing your baby. That time where you are all they want and need is over. And even though there were days you complained you felt like a cow, you mourn it when it's over.

But with her, I wanted it to be done. She was so demanding. I needed her to find a way to comfort herself. And yet, I knew how she felt. I understood her sorrow. Because truly, she was sad.
So I held her and I loved her and I cuddled her and I held her again. I let her know that I loved her as much as ever. And I tried very hard not to think about it. Because I wanted it to be done, but I knew how much I would miss it.
Yes. It is bittersweet to be a mother.

And then there was the night we were away from home, and we forgot to bring her blanket. She was hysterical. She didn't nap. She couldn't sleep. We had taken away the 1 thing that comforted her the most and now its replacement was gone too.
I could have made her suffer through it. I could have said, "well, it's been 4 days and we're not going back now."
But I didn't. I chose to help her instead. I chose to understand that she is a little baby who needed her mommy at that moment more than she needed to be taught that these are the rules!
So I nursed her.
And I knew it was the last time. And I cherished it. And it was very sweet and dear and I am so glad I chose to bend rather than to be rigid.

A few nights later, Lilly woke in the night, and I went to her. I took her and blanket to the couch where I held her. At first she wanted nothing to do with it because I wasn't giving her the thing she wanted most. But I began to sing to her and she soon she settled down in my arms.
And we stayed there for a while, cuddling and singing.
And I was so grateful for that assurance that we still had something. Yes, she has blanket, but she still has me too.

"A child needs sympathy hardly less than he needs love."
H. Clay Trumbull

6 comments:

Lillian said...

I am sitting here with tears running down my face and a lump in my throat. I feel the sadness that you felt for sweet Lilly. Even more I feel your sadness, because despite the fact that I weaned my last. baby 30 years ago, I can remember feeling exactly the same sadness. It hurts.

Lillian said...

Greta dear, I just reread this post it is a thing of beauty.

jennifer said...

i concur with your mama. on both accounts. :)

Erin McDonald said...

I am sure the day will come for me too to have these feelings and emotions but for now I will mourn with you as seasons change! Love you!

Wendy said...

Greta,
Great post. My babies are 12 today. I hate their birthday, but I love to celebrate them. Bittersweet. So true.

I can also remember when we "limited" time with their blankie when the girls became overly dependent on them. They had to "visit" their blankies in their cribs/beds. Blankie couldn't leave their room but they could visit whenever they needed a quick comfort.

They still go to bed with them to this very day...they are tattered, torn and threadbare. But they are well loved and still a comfort and still in their beds.

Love your blog.

Mommy of three said...

Oh my gosh, Wendy! Blankie visits! That is too cute. And I still had my blankie until I was 12 or so. It is good to have something that brings you comfort when you're growing up, isn't it?