Chris commented to me a few weeks back that he could hardly believe the baby stage was about gone–that he knew it was slipping away but he halfway expected it to keep cycling back through. It is sort of shocking when a person realizes the baby phase is really gone, no more to come again. As for me, well ask me later. Last night, Josh was up to nurse about ten times at least. He has a cold and this always drives him into frantic nighttime nursing. Lately, he is biting down when he latches on at night and I was quite certain I had a beaver in the bed with me last night, gnawing and gnawing away. But I didn’t start this entry to complain. I have a plan to wean Josh after our trip to Long Beach in May. First nighttime weaning, and then, hopefully soon thereafter, all out weaning by my 41st birthday (mid-July)–I can be flexible, to be sure. I do know, however, that when I drop Hannah off at college in the fall, I am not planning on bringing Josh with–so we will be weaned of this parasitic relationship by mid-August at the latest. And then, the baby stage will really feel gone to me.
It struck me, however, that Chris’s realization also could apply to Hannah. I keep thinking of her going away to college sort of like her year in Japan–that she’ll go away and come back and it will all be the same. Of course, even the year in Japan changed her–dramatically changed her and it hasn’t really been the same. Still, she did come back and has been living with us this year for her senior year of high school. I rarely see her, but know she is here because when I get up in the morning, the kitchen smells like a food co-op deli. I do know that Hannah’s breakfasts involve tomatoes, onions, often eggs, sometimes pinto beans and salsa. I am not quite sure what she is making–I do not ask. I do know, however, that over half of my refrigerator is housing her food. I am telling you, those big bags of fresh spinach and collard greens really monopolize the precious cooling real estate. So sometimes, as Chris knows, I get a little hung up on this issue and the constant rearranging that I have to do whenever I need to get an item out of the fridge. “Could be so much worse,” he says. And he is correct. And this is the end, after all. The end of having her just down the hall. The end of the time that she will be living here with me. She’ll come back to visit, but it will never be the same again. This stage of her life is almost over, never to be repeated. She is ready to fly. And at least I know that when she does fly, she’ll have the ability to cook herself some very healthy, well-balanced meals.