And to be given the blessing of rediscovered new love after spending 16 years with someone is a beautiful and beloved gift.
I love Mr. S' face, the high cheekbones, the set of his jaw, the distinct sloping line of his nose, and his beautiful blue eyes, the eyes that are not truly the color of a midnight sky or a piece of fine turquoise, but a shade somewhere in between the two, kaleidoscope eyes whose changing color is as unique as he is.
And while I have always known that comforting and familiar face, I have now been shown a very different side of it, something that can only be described as his nursing face, that visage of sublime peace and relaxation, the contentedness that smoothly transforms the little lines that fan from the corners of his eyes and erases the tiny furrows between his eyebrows, the set of his jaw, the fan of his lips, the shadows that his eyelashes cast upon his cheeks. I quietly watch him in soft, golden lamplight, as he lies contentedly and unaware at my breast, lulled by my breathing, my heart beat, my milk, everything that makes me very aware of my presence as a woman, his wife. I have memorized that face. I am in love with it.
I have nursed this man often throughout the course of our marriage, but this time, during this part of my journey, the experience is a bit different because it is a path that we have created only for us.
In the past, I was a breastfeeding mother whose breasts belonged to her children; nature had blessed me with an abundant fountain of milk, and while Mr. S drank his fill, and enjoyed it very much, it was meant for our little ones' sustenance and nourishment. He did not come to the breast until the children had been tended to and fulfilled.
Now, the children are self-reliant, and my role has shifted from breastfeeding mother to that of a nursing wife. My breasts, and every drop of the milk that we have worked together to produce over the past six months, that now flows freely from them, belong only to him. Yes, this is a journey that we have carved out for us.
I have learned to balance lactation and life. I have learned an unspoken, and sometimes surreal, depth of love. I have reminded a strong, courageous, and self-reliant man that he is free to depend upon me without fear of losing his own independence.
Nursing has provided us the beautiful opportunity to focus on us, on a strong relationship that continues to strengthen, in the most intimate way that a man and a woman can connect. It has given two imperfect people the privilege of glimpsing perfection within the embrace of another's arms.
Autumn will fade, giving way to winter, but our love will remain unchanged, forever blooming, like the rarest rose amid the drifted snow.