This post was written a few months ago and I’ve finally gotten around to revising and posting it:
This post is a future letter to Maya and Sam, because, well, just because. I’m also writing this because I am very proud of my wife who in addition to being a dedicated mother, is also a public school teacher (like my mother was), a wonderful musician, and talented Yiddish folksinger.
Dear Maya and Sam,
Today, I read a blog post about breastfeeding. I was already thinking about this post I’m writing, and seeing this blog happened to be that little push to actually get me to do it now. Today, Sam is one year and one week old. And he’s weaning. Partially because it’s the right time and partially because it’s his decision.
Both of you were primarily breastfed throughout each of your first years. To be sure, we added food little by little as you grew old enough for it. And we did introduce you to cow’s milk once you were one. And nursing continued or is continuing past your first birthdays. But at one, you’re not babies anymore; you’re both toddlers. Making that first year were happy occasions for both your mother and I.
But when you’re older and you read this, I want you to understand and appreciate a particular achievement that your mother did for both of you. The fact that you were both primarily breastfed was not easy. In fact, it was downright hard. Your mother wanted to do this for both of you, and she did. At this point, I want to say that this letter is about achievement and hard work. There are plenty of mothers who don’t breastfeed because of circumstances or choice, and those are good reasons and good decisions to make too. In raising and nurturing children, the variations are nearly limitless and what worked for us, isn’t going to work for everyone and it shouldn’t.
But we made this decision, and your mother did all the heavy lifting. Neither of you synced up immediately with your mother. We needed help, and we found it through some wonderful people. They coached and encouraged your mother, they helped us form a plan, and they helped us set some real goals–it was your mother, however, who worked to surpass those goals. In each of your first years, your mother worked tirelessly to nurse and pump what you needed to survive. She researched the equipment we would need and get, made detailed plans for how much she could pump and bank to make it all the way to the set goals, and managed to execute these plans despite huge obstacles. It isn’t easy in this day in age because we live in a time where both of us had to work and your mother had to juggle that.
I appreciate your mother in ways that I hope you’ll appreciate her and appreciate whomever you will share your life with beyond us. I’m proud of your mother because she worked hard and sacrificed for something she thought was important. She didn’t quit, even when giving up would have been a sensible thing. After all, there was a pretty good chance she wouldn’t succeed both times.
In your life, you will have to work equally hard for something that is important to you or for someone else. You won’t always succeed. Your mother will tell you that we came perilously close to failing a few times during those years. Giving it your all will not guarantee success either, but it will feel better because you did everything you could. That’s the thing here too, I would be proud of your mother whether she succeeded or not, because she did what she thought was right and poured every last ounce into doing it. I honor and am honored to be with your mother.
Love you both, Daddy