Yesterday began with pale yellow sun here in southeastern Michigan, and fresh air above freezing. My older children had slept at my parents’ house, so Shaya and I packed into hats and gloves and coats and headed outside for a walk.

Up and down the suburban streets I pushed the jogger stroller and listened to the constant chatter of my happy little boy.

Later, after spooning pistachio ice cream into his mouth and playing with straws, he insisted on stomping on snow. I watched my little one, under then-gray skies, skip and hop and jump atop a patch of snow I hadn’t even noticed, too busy as I was walking to the car, point A to point B.

That’s the beauty of children: they notice the details. What’s more, it is so important to them to stop and touch, feel, smell, experience those very same details that I would have missed, so intent am I on checking things off the list. 

Of course, his shoes were wet and so were the bottoms of his black corduroys. No matter. When he asked me to join him, a smile simply broke across my face from the sheer joy of being in that moment with someone I love.

After, he settled into his car seat satisfied and happy.

The other day, I visited a dairy farm, eager to learn how one of the last vestiges of how the-way-things-used-to-be continues on in a global economy.

It was beautiful – open skies, a perimeter of trees hugging the land, soft innocent cows eager for the touch of a hand. My eldest son, Asher, was with me, and we stomped along the muddy-hay, watching and listening and learning how our milk is processed.

It never occurred to me that in order for my family to drink milk, a baby cow must lose his mother.

The farmer looked incredulous at my lack of awareness. “You want your milk…” she said, when I balked at her claim that the baby cows are never with their mothers.

I didn’t plan to be such a deliberate mother. But when I got into breastfeeding and started learning about holistic approaches to health and nurturing, well, I just got swept up in the storm of it all.

But I saw it, plain and simple. My babies were happiest when right beside me. When they could smell me, hear the beat of my heart, be soothed by my very familiar voice, they were content.

I know humans are more highly evolved than any other animal, but I can’t help but wonder if all babies need that reassurance before they can go out into the world…

Alas. I’m not going to stop drinking milk – wouldn’t even make a dent in the system.

But as I slept last night wedged between a snoring daughter and a tossing, flailing toddler son, I was reassured that all is in order as it should be. Ducks in a row. Pieces of a puzzle.

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