Skip to content

7/6 Creativity Challenge and New Prompt

Some wonderful Fourth of July entries!  I think the one that will all take our breath away is the beautiful poem and accompanying photo from our lovely Miranda Helin Hersey, below.

Independence Day

On Friday morning, July the third
Liam nursed for the last time.
I did not know in the moment,
and so I did not say goodbye
to my little nursling
and the many years of my life
— six? —
that I have spent nursing my five children.
I did not imprint the memory, did not
photograph the image behind my eyes
the feel of him in my arms, the scent of his
warm hair against my arm and the pillow,
the pale blue sheets.
It was just another morning.

But that was three days ago.
I was ready, I thought.
And he was ready, for the most part.
But now that it has ended
(he isn’t asking, and
doesn’t seem to mind)
I find myself awash in grief
as if I have lost something,
or someone.

A part of my life has ended
as it should, naturally —
there is no more giving of new life,
sustaining that life, inside and out.
My body is mine now, forever.
No more sharing.

This strange milestone hits me
hard, and I reach for Liam,
burying my nose in his soft hair,
trying to remember.

miranda babyboy

From Cathy Coley: Baby C spent the morning of July 4th out harvesting beans and tomatoes.

Chloe '09 4th of July 004

From me (Kelly) : More in the mood for small-town goodness than big city traffic, we went to Fernandina Beach for the July 4th festivities…..parade, band and chorale, and fireworks. I had all intentions of capturing some great photos until I reached to capture a shot of the funky painted van outside the Green Turtle only to realize my camera card was still stuck in my computer at home.  Sigh…  I actually took this festive picture on another recent patriotic day: Memorial Day.  She’s a grand old flag.


This week’s prompt: “ethereal”
Use the prompt however you like – literally, or a tangential theme. All media are welcome. Please e-mail your entries to by midnight eastern time on Sunday, July 12, 2009. Writers should include their submission directly in the body text of their e-mail. Visual artists and photographers should attach an image of their work as a jpeg. Enter as often as you like; multiple submissions for a single prompt are welcome. There is no limit to how many times you can win the weekly challenge, either. (You do not have to be a contributor to this blog in order to enter. All are invited to participate.) All submissions are acknowledged when received; if you do not receive e-mail confirmation of receipt within 48 hours, please post a comment here. Remember, the point is to stimulate your output, not to create a masterpiece. Keep the bar low and see what happens. Dusting off work you created previously is OK too. For more info, read the original contest blog post.

13 Comments Post a comment
  1. miranda, clearly you are the winner. you brought what it is we’ll miss and why we struggle with the decision to stop nursing. well done, as so many of us from the cc community are considering breaking that particular, singular bond.

    kelly, uh-oh! maybe next year… i do like this one. it can truly be any year anywhere in this country. well, with those dripping trees in the background, definitely deep south, but you know what i mean…

    July 7, 2009
  2. Liz #

    I so felt that way. (Miranda) It’s funny because although I enjoyed nursing, I was so ready for the girls to be independent of me – but I was not prepared for that mini-depression/mourning that follows. Guess you’ll just have to have another… 🙂

    Everyone else – LOVE the pics!

    July 7, 2009
  3. Miranda, my end-to-nursing with O came very unceremoniously, as well. All of a sudden, she was done. I keep remembering the lovely intimacy of it, the physical closeness, the eye contact, the singing, the giggling in between…*sigh*

    She sometimes still asks for it, now, and I tell her there’s no more left – but that we can still cuddle together, and she can rest her head on me. it’s not quite the same, but still very, very nice. 🙂

    It’s SO hard letting go. That’s one of the most important lessons our children teach us, I guess.

    GREAT pictures, everyone!

    July 7, 2009
  4. miranda! oh my gosh! that makes me want to cry for my babies who aren’t babies anymore …. i remember when my last quit nursing … i felt like she’d just dumped me … broken up with me … didn’t need me …. but instead it was just that first tiny step of growing up …. very poignant … thanks for the reminder …

    July 7, 2009
  5. Jen #

    Beautiful entries but especially Miranda’s, which brought a big lump to my throat. Could totally relate — the end of nursing my son and my daughter both happened very simply, without ceremony or struggle. And it was very bittersweet in each case. Nothing quite like that closeness, is there?

    Thank you all for sharing.

    July 7, 2009
  6. well said, all! when i was getting ready to set up the post and read miranda’s entry, i was so touched. as you all have said, it touches a special place in all of us. i nursed my girls simultaneously (just picture tucking two footballs under your arms! e.beck can probably relate!), and it was a sad day when i realized the time had come. since i had to go back to work full time when the girls were six months old, i had to pump, so i think that helped me gradually wean all three of us a little more gently.

    July 7, 2009
  7. yes … i can absolutely relate, kelly! …. julia weaned herself at about 18 months … so for a bit i had just drew …. and then a few months later life was too exciting and he didn’t want to sit still long enough to nurse … and he weaned too …. or maybe it was the lure of the cheerios …. ha ….

    July 7, 2009
  8. ok, elizabeth wins, 2 for 18months at once, and one even longer?! you go, mama!

    July 7, 2009
  9. Kristine #

    Beautiful poem, Miranda. Just beautiful. 🙂

    July 7, 2009
  10. Thanks for the wonderful feedback, everyone.

    I have to say I am having a REALLY hard time with this. I never would have encouraged such an abrupt weaning, but I was facing various antibiotic regimens for Lyme disease. I had been on amoxicillin for two weeks and was still having various symptoms, including neurological issues. I thought I was going to have to start a month of IV antibiotics yesterday, and so dropped the bedtime nursing last week, and then, on Friday, the morning routine as well — Liam actually didn’t ask to nurse on Saturday morning, so we just went with it.

    But as it turns out, my doctor wants to hold off on the IV for the moment. Since I told her I’d weaned the baby, she moved me up to oral doxycylcine. I started it yesterday. But my body was clearly just not prepared for this abrupt weaning. My heart wasn’t ready either. I thought it was time — Liam is 14 months old and not a particularly “needy” nurser, although he can be a bit of a piranha, which isn’t so comfortable — and that the external impetus would just move things along more quickly. But now that I CAN’T nurse Liam, on account of the new drugs, I feel horrible. Just awful. Can’t shake it, and I’m a total mess. Either that or I’m having a psychotic reaction to doxycycline!

    Hard to breathe, figuratively. I’m creating rush collateral to help one of my clients raise $18 million, and building a website for a high-profile foundation — on top of the “regular” client work. The pressure is intense right now, so I realize I probably have less emotional margin than normal. But I still can’t even explain to myself why this is so difficult, let alone explain it to anyone else. My oldest leaves for college in six weeks, so I’m getting it on both sides. I’m sure that’s part of it. But another part is that I work three 8-hour days every week, and nursing was an easy and convenient way to stay connected with Liam. He’s so little, and I didn’t work this much through any of my other children’s infancies. I just feel totally adrift. Somehow this situation highlights the fact that I am not living in alignment with my priorities. I’m experiencing insane work stress right now, and meanwhile someone else is spending all of those hours with my littlest children. This is a “win”?

    We also just learned that one of our immediate family members has breast cancer, and that it has spread to her lymph nodes. We don’t yet have details or a prognosis. This, of course, in addition to creating heartache and worry, throws stark light onto that question of “seeing as everyone’s days are numbered, are you living yours the way you really want to live them?” It’s probably not very nice to think about MYSELF in the context of a loved one’s life-threatening medical crisis, but apparently that doesn’t stop me.

    I need to pick up the pieces here and get back in the saddle. I need to be healthy and shake this Lyme thing, which means reducing stress NOW. I need to be in a position where I can care for other people emotionally and physcially, because there are a lot of other people around me with serious needs right now.

    As for Liam, and the children…Yes, “someday is today,” and I have to figure out how to change the way I’m living. A little more child-focused motherhood, rather than “default motherhood,” and more time spent in meaningful creativity. Less of all this other BS. Hopefully, going into my practical, problem-solving mode will save me from this very black, very painful place. (Can you say “sublimation”?)

    I apologize for the long and overly personal monologue. I just feel like this is the right place for me to “find” my footing again, somehow.

    July 7, 2009
  11. oh, miranda! i’m so sorry! if you have any time tomorrow and just want to vent, i’m here, per usual…sometimes just getting it out is a release from the stress…

    July 7, 2009
  12. oh miranda, you really have your hands full, don’t you. i’m so sorry you’re still dealing with the lyme, and this the end of nursing and family crises on top of that. venting is a very good thing, and we’re all here to listen and support each other.

    July 8, 2009
  13. that’s so sad to hear about miranda. I’m sending good thoughts to help you kick the Lyme disease.

    As for the new prompt, i think it’s just fantastic! Great idea with the word ethereal…. it’s already saturday and i haven’t started somethign yet, but i may be able to cobble something together by monday…

    July 10, 2009

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: