In dark hours, I feel you breathe beside me, deep in sleep.
Pale morning light cools your skin to porcelain, so much like mine. The blue line of your eyelid flicks with a pulse matched by your throat as you nurse. Your cheek flutters — a hummingbird wing — you suckle for comfort, and I am comforted at our connection. Soon you will wake and you will exercise your will, assert your independence, and I will celebrate your confidence. But not now. Right now, we are one.
Afternoons bring staccato feet drumming my thighs and belly as your body’s drive to move is slowly stilled by your mind’s desire for rest. And milk. And my presence. And you sigh, and still, and sleep.
This is our respite from a day of activity, your “ah!” and flashing smiles for strangers, your determination and my laughter. This is a time just for us, where you are still my baby, and not the little boy we have dubbed ‘our gift to the world’. Jack, I miss you when you belong to everyone.
When you nurse, though, you are an extension of me, attached to me. I slow my breath to slow yours, calming both of us.
We slide into sleep together, your hand tracing mine. Your inquisitive finger presses the ball of my thumb, touches my wedding ring, my wrist my breast my face. Your ear.
You hold my hand with yours, your tiny, perfect hand. You nurse, and sleep, and your hand falls away.
Your gossamer hair against my arm smells metallic, bright, golden. It stirs and moves with a life of its own, lifted by the cherry-blossom breeze from the open window. It tickles my nose when I bend to kiss your head, damp with sleep. I breathe in how we smell together; milk and honey.
Hunger sated and with a full measure of comfort, you roll to your back, cheeks flushed and mouth pursed in the memory of nursing. I watch over you, a lioness with loving arms.
Your mouth reaches for me, blind and needing, as you sleep. A rising panic makes your languid motions urgent! frantic! until you latch — aaah — and slip back into the bliss. This is bliss.
This is more than I could ever have imagined.
That something so simple — feed your baby — could be such a profound expression of intimacy and love is something I could never have expected.
I would do anything to protect you, and us, and the nursing that helps make us an ‘us’. I am fierce with passion for this. I am sabre-toothed in my defense of our need to nurse and be nursed, for us both to be nurtured at my breast.
You have made me thus: a mother. By nursing you, I am provider and provided for. I am blessed, anointed, baptized in milk. In this bed, I participate in an everyday miracle. I believe.
And still you sleep beside me, drinking in love.