In a year, I have had another child. In a year, I have changed immensely. In a year, I have said hello and goodbye to loved ones. In a year, I have changed.
This time next year, I will probably not be breastfeeding my last baby. I will probably be taking my first son on field trips with his school. I can pack away my burp cloths, my pump, my swaddles. It's an everyday process, but it seems so huge to me that I am turning 31 next month and I am done having children. Is it possible to feel an empty nest a solid 16 years before your oldest has flown?
Someone told me this summer about hens who guard an empty nest and sometimes end up starving to death because they won't leave to seek nourishment or care for themselves. What a hopeless and heartbreaking thing, I thought. How fortunate we are that we can choose to thrive in times when our hearts are breaking, or our lives are changing, or our days are so tirelessly long.
I can say with joy that I have practiced the one thing I wished for myself before my second son came; that I would experience each moment more fully, and for what it was, before I longed for something else. Another time, or place, or sensation. In a way I almost feel like I cheated Tillman of that, because I was so stressed out about HOW TO KEEP GOING. I can see on Sullivan's face, the quality of ease and contentment that I seek for myself.