Daughter turns 17 today. This means that I got to say "my daughter" for the first time 17 years ago.
Language is so powerful. These two words melted my heart for days, if not weeks after uttering them for the first time. Even today I can tap into the wonder and marvel of those words and feel my heart melt a little.
There are so many hormones involved in this thing called mothering.
When I went on that farm trip a couple of weeks ago I felt like I was going to 'let down' when they started milking the cow. It blew my mind that all these years later I could still empathetically release oxytocin by merely watching a cow getting milked (by machine even!).
I was a staunch La Leche League (LLL) member. Attachment parenting, etc. My daughter's crib turned out to be a great clothes hamper - i.e. she rarely slept in it..maybe twice - and since she grew by leaps and bounds in that first year a good clothes sorting basket was a handy thing to have (albeit a bit pricy). Once I start earning a living wage again I intend to put LLL to the top of my donation list. They are an amazing organization for new parents to turn to for support in all aspects of parenting.
I remember being amazed learning through LLL that some women who adopted could train their breasts/bodies to lactate. With the cooperation of the new born infant. The miracle of birth is one thing but learning about this marvel of the female body completely gobsmacked me. Hormones.
Daughter was a real snuggler, well after being weaned, and really only stopped snuggling with me when she started snuggling with her teenage friends. They regularly lie all over each other in the school hallways with heads on laps, feet on arms, etc. There is nothing sexual about it (not overtly) and they are all platonically affectionate with each other.
I find this amazing. At 17 I was not lying around on anyone's lap that I also wasn't furtively groping on Friday/Saturday nights. Affection was always regarded as a prelude to something sexual. And frankly I'm not sure if that was a nature or nurture thing. I think catholicism and a general prudity of culture lingering in my 1980s suburb world had a lot more to do with it than I would have thought even 10 years ago.
My child, now a young woman, has been raised with the assurance that she is loved. I know that she is nearly finished putting on her wings and will soon fly away. That breaks my heart in some ways but I also know that this attachment parenting thing goes well beyond the nursing stage. Hormonal human bonds transcend biology, as evidenced by the adoptive mothers that trick their bodies. As daughter herself put it best in one of her notes to me long ago: "You are my fate".