Weaning Day

It dawned on me on Monday that Penny was beginning to wean. Her several weeks-long unpredictable nursing patterns finally translated into the truth (I'm slow on the uptake. I literally just bought my first fedora. I hear they're not cool anymore): Penny is ready to stop nursing. There are so many good things about this. 1- She's initiating it, so as a caretaker there's no possibility for guilt on my end. Having my child increasing in independence over time is one of my main goals as a parent - developmentally-appropriate independence with support available as needed. Check. 
2- Tim and I can finally put to rest any illusion that my presence is critical to making life with Penny work. With all our post-partum baggage, this is really healthy for me. My leash, at least physically, is being severed. 3- We can travel! We will celebrate 10 years of marriage in January and we're really hoping to take a trip to commemorate that huge occasion next year. 4- I can go back to underwire! (Okay, so maybe these points are not all of equal value).
Even though we're "ready", it is still a major transition in our relationship, probably the biggest one since birth. The change is physical, emotional, logistical. I liken it to a breakup where you're trying to end the romantic relationship while still attempting to remain friends. 
Your connection is changing and it's sad, awkward and liberating all at the same time. In some ways, you cling harder because they're the person you're used to turning to when things get tough, even though the transition is within your relationship. 
As with most transitions for my kids, I'm thrilled for them while simultaneously sad/nostalgic for myself. I've always been sentimental and processing these things when they happen helps me to minimize the fallout in other areas of my life (let's not even discuss the car I backed into today in the Office Max parking lot. Seriously, who even buys office supplies in retail stores anymore?!?!)
So, we spend a fantastic day on Tuesday celebrating Penny's "weaning day." It felt like the 1 year old version of a bat mitzvah with a little first day of your daughter's period mixed in for good measure. I took her somewhere she'd never been (Portland Children's Museum) and watched her utter delight as she everything freely (there is no greater gift to an active toddler). I got to gaze at her in admiration while she raced around curiously. Occasionally she'd stop and search for me, making eye contact. She may not need to nurse anymore, but she's still checking back to make sure mama's only an arm's length away.
I'm so proud of her persistence, her amazing ability to connect and also remain her own entity. She's fierce. Already her own advocate and bent on discovery, Penny moves as quickly as her little legs can carry her (and the higher they can climb up, the better). Not one to give up easily, my little Pen takes risks. She's such a gift! I'm so grateful to be her liason into the world. At one point, she was literally connected to me and now I get to be the one to show her around. 

Look out, world. Here she comes!