A Mother's Heart -- finding grace in transitions

Its the end of an era.  Well, perhaps Era is too strong a word -- it was only 1.125 years.  But it feels like the end of an era.  My daughter is growing up, becoming independent of me.  It was a bittersweet moment tonight when I laid her down for bed, as I said her prayers and sang "Jesus Loves Me" with her, it dawned on me that I had not nursed her in a week.  No early morning "go back to sleep for a few more hours" nursings, no "its well past your normal bedtime" nursings. No more "this is part of our normal routine."  The 'bitter' was in losing those sweet cherished moments we shared together this past year -- as we struggled through those first few days while we were both figuring out how this whole thing works, as we found a rhythm, became a 'nursing couple', and then as that rhythm changed with the months of growth, then nursing priority giving way to solid foods supplemented by nursing.  I knew this day would come, and its been coming for a couple months now, as I found my supply running low.  There were frustrating moments, with tears for both of us, where she longed for more, but I had nothing to give.  But somehow I still wasn't ready for it.  My selfish heart was not quite ready to give up this part of our mother-daughter relationship.

But God, in His grace, reminded me of how much He has given me in this sweet girl.  In my moment of sadness, He spoke to me, He touched my heart to see the sweetness of how much she has grown in this first year, and made me realize that this grace far outweighed my selfish longings.  Watching her everyday become a little person, no longer a baby.  Seeing her discover new things, and try them again and again.  Toddling around on legs that look too short for her long body, so proud of her new mobility.  Listening to her lively chatter as she plays, sometimes completely oblivious to my presence.  Seeing her interact with others, playing 'peek-a-boo' with her 'grannies' at church, witnessing how her smile can light up a complete stranger's face.  The child who has a smile for everyone, even when she's missed her nap or she needs to eat, or is not feeling well.  Learning to discern that mischievious glint in her eye, and anticipate what trouble she's fixing to get herself into, experiencing her sheer determination that borders on stubborness, when she gets her mind fixed on something.  Sitting in fascinated wonder, realizing how much she has already picked up, how much she comprehends. Learning how to handle her crying and her tears, her clinginess and whining, or correct her screaching and her temper tantrums.    Simply enjoying her daring and adventurous spirit, her mild nature and sweet temperament, her tolerance and her endurance.  Soaking up her infectious laughter, her sweet smiles, her generous heart, her hugs, her snuggles, her wiggles and her giggles.   Every aspect of my darling girl is wrapped up as God's special gift to me.  And looking at it from here, there isn't a thing I would change.  

Thank You, Lord, for Your good gifts.  Thank You for giving me stewardship of Your precious child.  

Erin Turkington, 12/2/2012