“What are we going to do with this extra cabinet space?”
[sniff] “I don’t know.”
“Dude, seriously … that’s like a whole shelf!”
I pulled them down, one after another; Dr. Brown’s, Born Frees, Playtex Drop Ins. I placed them in a bag and told myself it was just for safekeeping. I was just passing them over to another mommy for a few months. But the truth is, they aren’t coming back. I am bottle-free and that’s hard to swallow.
The semi-sane side of me realizes that I’m experiencing a dark hole of emotion based on a cylinder of plastic with a fake nipple on top. I think of the 12 gazillion pieces I had to take apart, put in dishwasher cages, wash and then air dry, and how much I detested those freaking things at 3 in the morning. But then I think about 3 in the morning. I think about those dark, quiet moments when the only sound was a tiny little face, slurping down a few ounces in the still of our family room. The little piggy noises and the curl of those precious little fingers around mine. The post-bottle burping snuggles. Hearing those sleepy, drunken slobbers in your ear and feeling cold chunky cheeks against my shoulder.
When you feel pretty confident that you’re family is complete, everything has the potential to feel like an ending. The baby looks like a mama orangutan in her swing. Ending. She bellies up to the family table in a booster and the high chair has to go away. Ending. She starts wearing clothes with a “T” on the tag. Ending. She demands condiments for her chicky and hot dogs. Ending. Her outfits stop coming with bloomers. Ending. It’s depressing. I’m human. It stings.
But the bottles got me deep. Deeper than the bloomers. Maybe it’s the fact that it feels like, yet another, string cut from their dependency on me. I’m pretty sure Sloppy Joan could muster up a GoGoSqueez or granola bar if I were incapacitated for any reason. She doesn’t need me to snuggle her in the crook of my arm and look down lovingly as she sucks down her supper. She much prefers stuffing her face until she’s had her fill and then throwing the plate onto the floor.
I recognize the crazy in my tears. I realize where I see the end of a journey, many moms would argue there’s cause for joy. “We’re so close to being out of diapers,” Hank says. “It’s just about to get easy.” But easy is so overrated, right?