The other day I heard a whisper from the Lord right before I was about to begin my nightly ritual of nursing Hannah before bedtime. My usual routine was to grab my iPhone and scroll through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (in that order) as she drifted off into her milk coma. But that night I heard a little voice (that I realize was the Lord, now) say, "Why don't you put your phone down tonight and just enjoy these moments. They will pass so soon." I heard the voice clearly and even thought about obeying it for a second, but then my selfishness got the best of me and I was back to my usual routine.
And then a couple days later, my sweet 10 month old baby girl stopped nursing.
I was blindsided one night when I went to feed her and she acted completely uninterested. My never-skips-a-meal, eats-for-20-minutes-on-both-sides, baby girl was uninterested. I tried for half an hour... nothing. She even started screaming in frustration/hunger. I didn't know what else to do and I had no formula on hand, so I tried pumping and giving her a bottle. It worked, thankfully. I tried again the next morning... and same story. Finally I took her to the doctor (because obviously, something HAD to be going on... I mean, she must be ill or something) and they said she was teething. Well yes, duh, she already has 9 teeth. I could have told you that. But that never stopped her from nursing before.
And when it finally hit me and I finally succumbed to the fact that this was just it, that she was done nursing and ready to move on... I cried. I mean, really cried.
I didn't think I would be emotional about it. I mean, I wasn't with Micah. I nursed him 13 months and was relieved when he finally could go to sleep on his own without needing to nurse.
But maybe this was different because I was already pregnant with Hannah by the time Micah stopped nursing. And I knew I would be back at it again soon. Or maybe, and probably more likely, it was because this time... it wasn't on my terms. This time I didn't get to plan the weaning process. I didn't get to prepare her for it. And I definitely didn't get to prepare myself.
And I remembered that small voice that whispered to my heart just a few nights before, telling me that these moments were fleeting... and I wish I had obeyed. I really wish I would have cherished those last couple days like I did when she was first born and all I could do was stare at her sweet face 24/7.
People tell us all the time to enjoy those early stages right after they are born, because it goes by so fast. And it's true. They do. But we need to cherish the moments in-between too. Because for all the "firsts" that we experience, there are so many "lasts" that will quickly sneak up on us. I wasn't prepared for this last. But I promise to listen and be prepared for the next.