To my dearest Tornado A,
Today you are weaned. At 10 months. And I am sorry.
Since the day you turned two months, I have felt torn, wanting to hold every moment in my heart, as you will most likely be my last baby, and wanting you to grow up so that I can have my body back. It is not you that did this, not the want to finish with babies. It was the implosion that shook our family, that tore a hole in my soul, leaving me bleeding and vulnerable. When my flight-or-fight system is kicked, I fight. I cannot fight with a baby strapped to my back. I cannot protect you and your brothers from the dangers threatening your world if I cannot hold a weapon. Every day I wanted to enjoy your babyhood. Every day I prayed for you to get bigger soon. Every day I felt guilty not enjoying these precious moments, dripping through my fingers, snatches of time I will never get back.
Like a prophetess surrounded by statues and chanting, I could see the dark path twisting in the smoke of incense. But you were my calling. Even after months of praying, meditating, debating, spreading out cards and stones, realizing that it was complete foolishness, I had to have you. You were not the answer to a baby-desire, a girl-child, a completion of a set goal. As I couldn’t wake in the morning without breathing, eating, or writing, I couldn’t walk the earth without you. I held my guilt up at the temple of the guilt dump for the stone I was about to throw into the lake of my life and the ripples that would affect the surface and the bottom always forever changed because of that stone. I trusted. I took the step. I conceived you.
You are what saved me from hating that year, hating my life, cursing my mistakes. You are the sun burning off the physical pain of your birth, the soul pain of betrayal, the fear of loss, the agony of lies. You are my calling in the flesh. When I watch you battle your way on hands and knees unstoppable, when I listen to your pure breath-catching laughter, when I feel your soft skin as you snuggle close, I know you were what was missing.