I thought last night was The Night.
The Last Night.
Evangeline and I settled into the pillows; she clutched her lovey and whispered, Dark! as I adjusted my shirt. Yes, it's dark, isn't it? I joined the nightly ritual and we touched foreheads and giggled before she settled back to nurse.
And one minute later, she pulled away and said, Nigh-nigh.
I jumped, startled. And then I repeated it back to her, Do you want to go nigh-nigh? and she nodded and pulled away further to sit up and so I began to sing.
Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask thee to stay,
Close by me and guide me,
All through the day...
I walked to her crib, a mere two feet away from our bed and she, back-lit from the nearby nightlight, smiled and lunged for her cozy blankets and I kissed her and tucked her in and rubbed her back a moment longer.
Love you, Vangielou, I whispered, and walked out of the room.
And as I tidied the living room, a sense of loss made me think, This. This is one of the reasons it can be so hard when a baby begins to wean herself- you never know when it's the last time!
The night before, I'd settled into those same pillows and Evangeline had latched on, and I'd picked up my Kindle and read a few chapters while she nursed. I'm sure I stroked her soft hair and touched her constantly-moving hand as she playfully tugged on my chin and shirt, but I'm not sure I looked at her. I looked at the words on the Kindle page and not her.
Since she was born, I've spent many middle-of-the-night nursings in prayer. It has been a precious gift; sometimes I slept, but more often than not the Lord brought to mind so much that needed covering, and I am grateful for the blessing of those dark, sweet hours.
But now we're down to morning and evening feedings, and they're really not feedings anymore, are they? Her nutrition comes from the food she eats all day, but as for me, well, I'm Comfort, and she needs that, too, but in a different way.
But now the evening nursings are over, I sighed as I placed the last toy in a bin and turned out the dining room light, wishing I wasn't home alone with the two youngest, longing for the company of my wise husband and his listening ear. If I'd known last night was the last, I'd have treasured it more.
And then I heard it over the baby monitor.
Crying. And the soft word repeated over and over, Nurse? Nurse.... nurse.
So, it wasn't the last night. And I slipped in and pulled back the curtain and held out my arms, and we settled in and she nursed till she was fully comforted, and woke me early this morning to nurse again.
But you can bet that I'm going to begin treating these two nursings a day as though they could be her last... we're locking eyes, I'm kissing fingers, I'm praying over her and my other children and my husband and our home...
Grateful for every moment.