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So Close, No Matter How Far

“So close no matter how far
Couldn’t be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters”

So close, no matter how far - baby boy in rainbow pajamas

Nothing else matters, when we’re locked into these moments. These right moments.

The other day, I made a bottle of formula for Rider, and it was the first bottle of formula I’d ever made for any baby. I can’t stress enough that I fully stand in the “feed your baby” camp and that means whatever is age-appropriate and makes you both feel great. However, I just never had to do anything except breastfeed and introduce solids at six months (maybe 5 1/2 months in Des’ case). Those last times I nursed – did I know they were the last times? Did I feel bittersweet and sad/relieved? Des was 12 months and not interested in nursing due to an ear infection, so I had no trouble stopping that last feed. Scarlet was 15/16 months and she stopped asking or maybe I stopped offering. I don’t know how old Rider will be, but I can kiss the tender days of exclusive breastfeeding goodbye, I think, and I’m ecstatic. And maybe also a little crushed/sad/relieved.

I held him to me after Cassidy gave him a bottle, and he didn’t try to breastfeed. He was sated.

romp + tumble

So close, no matter how far, and I wonder what the future holds. I feel peace that we survived the first night of a supplemental feeding. I went seven hours without breastfeeding him and although it was uncomfortable, when he did wake to feed around 11:11 (make a wish) he was more thorough with a better latch. And I felt great after the feeding. As you know, nursing has not gone easily this time around, for some reason, or a number of reasons – all with maybe one or two foundations. I’m figuring them out, in the care of trusted professionals. It was my own firm decision to drop a session, wait a few days for my body to catch up, and then maybe drop another session. And even another? I’m not trying to fully wean, yet, but I’m trying to see what feels best. I’d love to make it to six months, and even 12 months, but I realize I won’t get there if I don’t make some adjustments and give my body a break. Just one dropped session; maybe two.

Besides, seeing Cassidy bottle-feed him is simply adorable. I got to see that a few times after pumping, but since pumping mostly pushed me further into this misery, it wasn’t sustainable.

so close, no matter how far

I don’t know what’s on the other side of this, but it helps to trust in the process. In my family, we have a tendency to say to one another, “See you on the other side!” I think we got it from “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and it came in handy when Scarlet and Cassidy traveled to Panama, while I took Des to Atlanta. In the beginning of the pandemic, I thought about what the other side of it would look like. I saw it as a singular moment in a singular day. One minute, we decide, it’s just over. We all go dancing in the streets. We hug and clasp hands and kiss on the cheeks.

Now I know it’s not like that – it’s messy and complicated and uneven. Some people are already dancing in the streets. Some are hidden underground. I think we’ll creep out, little by little, into the light – scared and confused and hopeful. Maybe we’ll stop wearing masks, but one by one, dropped and forgotten – into glove compartments and laundry baskets and pockets. One day, years from now, will we remember the last day we had to wear a mask to hug our own mothers?

Will we know when it’s the last time? Or will it fade from memory; its colors bleeding into other memories and feelings and fears and storms. Other hope. Nothing else matters, but moments.

boy and girl play happily in the snow

It’s crazy to me, not that there is another side from this, but that as hopeless as it seems to get from here to there, we will. So many journeys we are on, and sometimes we don’t even realize we’re on them until we’re already on the other side. And how did we get there? I know it seems insurmountable at times, like a storm that will never stop battering your shores, or a mountain full of jagged and crumbling pieces that send you spiraling back down, every time. The only way over and out, is through. So you get these chances to own up or break up, lock down, clamp down, or break down. There’s an astonishing freedom through the pain; the chance to see the stark rainbow through the fog. What else matters? Nothing. It feels so close, no matter how far, and so far, no matter how close. We don’t always know when these last moments are the last moments, and we don’t know where our journeys end, or more likely, wrap themselves around other journeys as they ribbon their ways around your mountains and your shores. Excruciating.

And cleansing.

My mom wrote this about the grief of her dear friend living her last days:

“Last evening, her son called to tell me a message from my dear friend. She loved me, I was very important to her and she was saying good bye. She was too weak to speak to me. I dreamed that I held her in my arms as she was dying. We floated over a crib and she was light as a feather. I awakened in the middle of the night. My grief was suffocating, palpable, and loud. I looked out the window but the world was silent, enrobed in a velvety white. It has been snowing for two days. I think it will snow forever. I also think that no act is ever random but the furthest thing from it.”

I was so touched by that; as all of our journeys intersect, and float. Sad/relieved/hopeful/alive.

“I never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don’t just say
And nothing else matters”

“Nothing Else Matters” (by Apocalyptica) was song #6 on our birthing playlist.

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10 Comments

  1. I can relate to that “see you on the other side.” Very hard to see my adult children leave after the holidays and travel back to their lives very far away. This has been a real stress of the pandemic for me, because typically I have known when I will see them in person again. Now, I don’t have that certainty. I trust that God is on His throne, knowing my heart. In the meantime, technology has saved us!

  2. More lovely photos Tamara! Rider’s fabulous face has the most charming expressions. As sweet and special as it gets! I was touched and silenced by the note too. What can one say? This band of classical cellists from Finland has a nice collection of videos that compliment their beautiful music.

  3. Snow! We got snow last week. It stuck for about 3 minutes, but not enough to really play in. I think Southern Arizonans might die if we really got a lot of snow. We don’t really know how to drive or maneuver in it 🙂

    Happy February my friend! I am happy that you are finding the right groove for you with feeding. If my kids would have taken any kind of bottle, it so would have been done!

    Take care!

  4. Dreams and grief often intersect. Loss of a dear person can cause them to appear in our dreams in beautiful ways. Loved this whole thought process, Tamara. I had a very hard time pumping milk with both of my kids. I fed my eldest the longest but my youngest needed more. So he loved the formula when I introduced it. He began sleeping through the night then.
    Oh, that song is beautiful! The couple were intriguing as well. I will be looking for more of their videos. Have a great weekend!

  5. What a post! I’m sorry for you mom’s loss:(.

    As for the breast feeding, it is funny how they know and you have to accept when they’re ready to let go, even if your not. I went the longest with Aud, and once she started walking – she let me know, although I don’t’ remember the actual last time. With Cam it came much too soon. I remember it, because he fought me and I was desperate to get him to keep breast feeding, and I think he sensed the desperation and pushed me away. And yet – he’s the one I’m probably closest to – so who knows what it all means.

  6. I remember that feeling when formula came into to diet. There is just something about reducing that connection that feels like a loss at the time. But like you said, it is so nice that other family members can help with the feeding, and that is such a special bond for them.

  7. This song has always haunted me but I’ve never heard this version before which is even more haunting, of thats even possible?

    Your mom’s words ❤️ I’m so sorry for her friend, but what a beautiful dream. No, there are no random things in this crazy universe.

    One day. This will be a really weird dream we all had. And well, you know my thoughts on breast feeding. Look at that sweet face 🥰 someone is so m,so truly loved. Nothing else matters.

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