The end of an era

Tonight is a big night for me as a mom... I have consciously decided that it is time for my little Erik to stop nursing.  He just turned 21 months old last week, so it's time.  I know many nurse right up till the World Health Organization recommended 2 years, and beyond, but I know others stop nursing much earlier for various reasons, so really, I feel incredibly blessed that I've been able to nurse my boy for so long.  I was originally only planning on nursing him for a year... but then it was really easy to continue nursing in the mornings and evenings even after I went back to work after my maternity leave... and then I said 18 months... and then it was until the hump of flu season was done (Erik's always been very healthy and robust and although it's only my own speculation and cannot be proven with certainty I feel like I can't discredit the immune boosting he's received through my milk)... but now it's mid-March, and with us thinking about baby #2 sometime in the future, it really is the right time for us.  And I know he doesn't really neeeeeed my milk anymore... it's been more of a comfort for both of us probably for some time now.  However, despite all this that I'm telling myself, I'm still finding myself on the verge of tears and a bit of an emotional mess.  My little man is growing up!  He's not a baby anymore, he's my little boy.  Every day he takes steps towards independence.  I am so proud of him for this, and love him so much.  But it's hard not to hang on, even to such little things.  It's incredible how this little man has etched himself so deeply on my heart - I shouldn't really be surprised then that I'm left a bit teary as tonight he's taken another step away from "needing" me.  But I'm sure other mom's would be quick to tell me the bonds will continue to deepen between us even though this one specific bond we've shared has passed its time.  I will take comfort in that, and also in the blessing I have in the irreplaceable closeness we've shared up until now.  Being a mom really is the best thing ever, and I look forward to seeing Erik grow, thrive, and take all those little steps "away" from me as he grows into an independent person.  I pray he always knows I love him, and that these little tears I shed are just an expression of it.