But You Are

My sweet baby boy,

We walk to your room…to bedtime.

And I hold my breath.

I place you on your changing table, stripping you of your dinner-stained clothes. I change your diaper and softly sing “You Are My Sunshine.”

And I hold my breath.

I pull clean jammies from your drawer and pull the top over your head, thread your legs through the pants.

And I hold my breath.

We collect your pacifier and settle into your rocking chair.

I feel the weight of your 18-month old body as you rest against me.

I sing you the ABC song.

And I hold my breath.

I ask you, “Matthew, would you like some milk?”

And you shake your head no.

You touch my cheeks with your chubby hands and rest your smooth forehead on mine and melt into me.

You sit up, look me in the eye and then press your face against mine and sigh.

You’re done.

And I don’t feel ready.

But you do.

You do.

So, I hold you.

And I whisper I love yous.

Together, we redefine this bedtime dance.

You need me still. I know that.

I’m not ready, but you are.

So we are done.

I will follow your lead, my darling boy.

I will trust that you know what is right.

But I will count on those moments with you where you touch my cheek and offer me your full weight.

And I hold my breath.

Always yours,



  1. Oh, how I love this. How sweet, and bittersweet. I have been where you are. Much love. Huge emotions, but they are yours to feel.

  2. Sherri

    Oh my sweet friend…..I know exactly how that feels. I remember feeling so sad and a bit rejected when my son "decided" he was done before I was. But then I felt proud that this was a choice HE was making for himself, to move on and be a little bit more independent of me. But oh, the tug at my heart!

    And I felt it reading this. Hugs to you, and you will always remember these wonderful times. And he's STILL melting into you….

  3. oh, how beautiful and how heartbreaking! (and this coming from someone who couldn't wait to wean my first one at a year!) a good reminder that I should enjoy the nursing moments with my little one while I can…because this day is going to come soon enough for us, too. Hang in there!

  4. mommyneedsavacation

    Lovely Nichole. I always stopped nursing before my kids were able to let me know they were done. A good reminder to enjoy those sweet moments!

    And just remember, soon you will be nursing a new baby! Fingers and toes crossed!

  5. Cheryl @ Mommypants mommypants.com

    Sigh. It's so hard. I know you'd hoped to go longer. I'm so grateful you had all this time with him because i know how much it meant to you.


  6. What special times! Even though you aren't ready, it's comforting to know that it was his choice instead of taking it away. I envy you, wish I could have nursed my boys that long!

    My heart breaks for you now, but will be soaring for you when you have a new little one to share that special time with!

  7. Yuliya shesuggests.com/

    As much as I look forward to this day, and hope the decision will be hers to make, you made me feel not ready with you for these few moments. So beautiful. You are a wonderful mom.

  8. Oh this is so hard. I'm glad you were able to do it for so long, it was a great way to help him get the best start in life. Now you just have to sing five extra bedtime songs to make up for the gap in bedtime. :)

  9. Rebecca

    I wish you'd warn people before they read posts like this. Now I'm crying at the thought of my son weaning (and he's only 8 days old). As always, a beautifully written post that echoes what my heart will, I'm sure, one day feel.

  10. Kir thekircorner.com

    I know how much it must be to stop before you are ready, so I am thinking of you and sending comforting hugs. Your words were so beautiful for such a bittersweet moment. Xo

  11. I am crying….so heartbreaking but oh so beautiful. I morn the day when he doesn't need me completely. Actually when he used the potty for the first time I bawled my eyes out.
    You are a beautiful writer. Love this and tweeting it ;)

  12. Efloraross thewriterrevived.com

    I had to stop before I was ready, too. And I was an emotional wreck. Still miss it to this day. Beautifully written, as always!

  13. Oh Nicole, this is so lovely. A great big step for Matthew, but always heartbreaking for mommy. I'm sure you're feeling very emotional so hugs to you.

  14. What a lovely post. I have to admit that I stopped with D when I was ready (but it turned out he was ready, too, no tears or anything). Abbey decided on her own around 11 months, and that was tough for me. I appreciate the cuddles so very much, though.

  15. Cate catelinden.com

    Oh Nichole, this must be so bittersweet for you. Your writing is just lovely.

  16. Tonya lettersforlucas.com

    Your little baby is growing up… bitter and sweet. Hugs to you, friend.

  17. Jessica fourplusanangel.com

    I remember this feeling with my youngest (who will be two next week, gulp). He was so happily done and ready to move on before I was. Sending hugs.

  18. Jen Has A Pen jenhasapen.com

    No Matthew!!! Stop growing up. I don't want you to be old enough to make these decisions! Your mom can't handle it either!

  19. Natalie mommyofamonster.com

    This would be so hard. My milk stopped before my kids could decide they wanted to stop…I think it was much easier for me that way.

    Bittersweet. xoxoxxo

  20. Everyone has said the same thing, but it's hard not to react to this as "bittersweet." Congrats to you for making it so long and thanks for the beautiful poem.
    Here was my journey with breastfeeding, if you're interested: Seeing the Breast Half-Full
    From TRDC

  21. Oh! That was so sweet. It made me miss nursing :( Great post. Touching for any mother.

  22. Aw, so sweet! I love when they make their own decisions about growing up, even when we aren't ready for it.
    came from TRDC (with a markedly different-themed mom post than you this week, LOL).

  23. Such small moments and gestures, yet so big, symbolic of so much. That was simply lovely.

    Popping over from TRDC also.

  24. Argh… submitted this comment twice. Computers must hate me today.
    Anyway, I'm sorry the above link doesn't work! I guess I got too fancy with my html. See if this works: http://www.outrageousfortune.net/2011/04/seeing-b
    Or I'll try this again: Seeing the Breast Half Full because it's so much prettier. ;-)
    Thanks for your interest!!

  25. Huh, funny, the pretty one just reroutes to your site. I guess your design doesn't allow embedded external links? Oh well! The one above it works.

  26. Mrs. Wonder sunshinewonderland.com


  27. wantapeanut

    From the moment our kids are born we are teaching them to be more and more independent of us. It is what we are supposed to do, but it is so bittersweet for us. Hugs.

  28. Your words reminded of those sweet soft days with my own beautiful faired haired baby boy who will graduate from High School this week, and then fly across the country to NYC to go to college…and truly, I am holding my breath, but can not seem to do the same with my tears.

  29. ksluiter

    we are so together in this pre-mourning, aren't we? sigh…

  30. My youngest turned two in February. She's a tiny little peanut though, so it feels like I was able to eek out a little more "baby". She's our last and I find myself clinging to moments like the one you wrote about. I loved your beautiful words.

Add a comment

(required, won’t be displayed)

About this post