Wednesday, September 23, 2015

On Weaning

  I nursed my baby to sleep for the last time tonight. 

  He is still nursing upon waking but that will end very soon as well. Sweet boy has had 13 months of mama milk, just as his big brother did. I am thankful for the time we've had to share such a tender, intimate, nourishing relationship. 

 I thought it quite appropriate that after preschool choir tonight T.Mark marched proudly out with his craft for the night, announcing that he had made "baby Moses in the basket." He said, "Mama, guess what happened?? Baby Moses' mama put him in a basket and then she put him IN THE RIVER!" His mind was blown. Ha! I told him it was because she was trying to protect him from the bad man who was trying to get him, so that he could grow up and lead God's people to the promised land. And that God is preparing another promised land for us, if we trust in His son Jesus.  

  The reason I thought this particular story so fitting for tonight is that I've often pondered what this season of life must have been like for Moses' mother, Jochebed. The depth of desperation she must have felt as she placed her tiny infant in a basket of tar and pitch and sent him floating away from her. How her heart must have torn in two, while every fiber and sinew in her body silently screamed for her to jump in the murky waters and clutch her baby back to her chest where he belonged. But she trusted the Lord to provide. 

   And then--the incredible turn of events that allowed Moses to be found by Pharoah's daughter, and sent back to Jochebed who was able to nurse him until he weaned. What a tender mercy from God this was! Each day as Jochebed nourished her child, and leaned down to kiss his little head, she may have pondered what the Lord would do in this miracle baby's life. She could not have known that her baby boy would grow up to be one of God's greatest and most faithful servants, who would lead His chosen people out of slavery in Egypt. A man with whom the Lord spoke "face to face, as a man to his friend."

 This weaning is a hard time for me. Amos may be my last baby, so this may be the last time I am able to nurse a child. I am thankful for the time we have had. I'm thankful for many things-- the nutrition and immune benefits Amos has received, the sweet bond we have shared, the physical closeness, the long term health benefits for us both. But I have realized that I am most grateful for the breastfeeding experience because, for me, it taught me how to mother. From the early sleepless, raw nights, to the slow settling in to routine, it taught me at a very real, physical, self-sacrificing level what it means to be a mom. I know there are many who do not breastfeed, and I begrudge no one that choice. I feel confident the Lord brings your initiation to motherhood in other, equally wonderful ways. But this was mine. 

A short poem I read recently:

Wean me gently...
For I am your mother
And my heart is tender. 

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