I’ve been struggling with how to describe the ache, it is as intense and consuming as anything I’ve ever felt, from mourning to puppy love. I suppose, in a sense, it’s both. Finley is nearly fifteen months old and in less than 30 hours I will leave for 3 days for BlogHer 2009. I did it last year, but she came with me. She was on my chest the entire time. She nursed happily, cooed contentedly through sessions and gave me something upon which I could legitimately focus if, say, I got terrified by a phalanx of bloggers I admired in the hotel hallway. It was also sinfully decadent time alone with her, as her older sisters stayed back at home with Sean.

This time she’ll stay home with her sisters and Sean. I cannot expect her to stay engaged, rested or quiet during the round the clock activities. I also don’t know that I can expect her to want to nurse when I get home or trust that my body will still be capable. She is, and I say this with the full understanding that I am belaboring the point, my last baby. This is the last baby I will nurse, the last full summer of diapering,the last summer before having a school age daughter.

It’s inevitable that these things will happen, but I can’t help feel that in some way I am hurrying time along and that is simply not my intention. I hope (feel free to chime in here please!) that this is a lesson.

That it’s ok to go to a conference about something that has helped you to discover who you are.

That if you are lucky enough to have two parents, you should have one-on-one time.

That we must live in each moment.

That mom is strong.

That you can do it.

And so like Fin’s first dip in the ocean.

And her immediate impulse to leap to me.

I am going to remember the squeals of delight and splashing laughter. Despite wanting to cling to my girls, I’m going to chase the surf rather than run from it, swim away from shore, so that I can be reminded once again, how sweet standing upon it can be.