Rosemary will be 3 years old this weekend, and she's not ready.
Oh, she's been potty trained for nearly a year, speaks clearly in full sentences, is somewhat precocious and opinionated and, on occasion, demanding. She knows she wants a pink birthday cake, how to show three fingers for her age, how to draw in crazy detail. She has everything she needs to be three.
Except Rosemary still nurses. And not just once or twice a day, but as much as she possibly can. It might be the thing she loves most in life. Rosemary isn't ready to be three because her Mama said at three, it's time to be done. There's a long standing (ridiculous, in my opinion) saying,"if they are old enough to ask for it, they are too old!" Well, Rosie not only asks for it, but can give you a three point logical explanation why you should submit to her demands. "Mama can you please nurse me when you are done folding that laundry? I'm waiting patiently!" Goodness.
I'm not really ready either, because I know that this time, weaning won't be easy. Not that it ever is, but, as I mentioned, Rosemary is more than just fond of nursing. She is incredibly attached. The few times that I have tried to cut back with her have elicited sobs and pleading and hours long tantrums. Weaning is almost certainly going to be difficult for both of us. But is the avoidance of difficulty really a good reason to continue on with something? If I've learned anything, it's that ease isn't always a good thing - and sometimes the pursuit of ease prevents us from moving forward with other good things.
The thing is, I know how she feels. I know how it feels to be so attached to something that the thought of being done with it can make you sob for days. I know this aversion to change, to growth, to maturity. I know how it feels when God asks you to hand over your security, comfort and sense of place, asking only for your trust that He has something better. It's scary. It's hard. It hurts.
Nursing is the best thing in Rosemary's life. Her very favorite. In her limited experience, the best life has to offer. It spells comfort to her. Love. Security and place. Part of her very identity feels wrapped up in this. I can so relate.
I can't see the future for Rosie, but I know that this is just the start of so many good and beautiful things in her life. So much that will bring her joy and spell love in her life. As I watch my little girl grow, I know I'll see her grapple with the pain of letting go a thousand times in this life. I get a little glimpse at how God feels watching us. Full of sympathy, love and compassion, yet knowing that sometimes it's in the letting go that we receive more than we could have ever dreamed of. If He waited for us to decide when we are ready, would we ever be? I know comfort is a strong influence in my life. Would I ever be ready to step out in trust? Or am I the type that needs a little push?
Today she's still two, and her curls are so long they brush my leg when she sits on my lap and nurses, patting my cheek with her hand, her beautiful brown eyes searching my face. It's hard to imagine anything better than this. But I know there's something better coming along. My Mama heart feels like it couldn't love someone more - and I know He loves both of us deeper still.
"The hard things will be for good. The good things will be forever. The best things will be forthcoming."
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