photo by Jordan Whitt,

A Letter to My Youngest, at Nineteen Months

Dear Joe,

Please know
I won’t love you any less
when I wean you
a few weeks from now
on Mother’s Day.

Please know
I’ll be weaning me, too
from my daily dose
of unconditional love
from peace, repose
from those
few moments spent
in the luxury of stillness
as I look into an angel’s face
and find myself reflected there
(if only in the curve
of your eyes, the tilt
of your nose).

Please know
my youngest, my last
I love you neither less
nor more
than the two who came before
just differently
because you were the one
who taught me
to yearn, to wait
to be grateful
in ways I never was
until now.

Yes, now
as you straddle the cusp
between infant and child
with your wild string-bean legs
the same ones
that hang over the arm
of the rocking chair
when I try to cradle you.

Please, Joe
please know
it is only milk
which will cease
please know
love will always flow
between you and me.

— Your mother

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