It’s been over two years since Emily weaned. I don’t write about breastfeeding or nursing anymore, unless it is in response to a comment on my nipple trauma post, still my most popular post on this blog.
It gratifies me to know I’ve left even a tiny mark on the world of breastfeeding health and lactivism.
I miss nursing, but I don’t really feel the urge to write about it anymore. And unless I am doling out obnoxiously unsolicited advice to a new mom, I rarely talk about it.
Well, that’s not entirely true.
Since I nursed Emily until she was a little past four, when she naturally weaned herself, she remembers her time at the breast. She occasionally mentions it to me. She reminisces, and even wishes she could still be a cozy little nursling.
It is also gratifying to know my daughter has happy, safe, sweet memories of nursing and will hopefully grow up with positive attitudes about breastfeeding.
But I digress. . .
What I really wanted to tell you about was meeting my all time musical idol a few months back.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a HUGE Regina Spektor fan. My obsession for her cannot be stifled.
Regina is a Russian immigrant who came here as a child to escape religious persecution for being Jewish. She is a classically trained pianist who writes insanely creative songs in the indie-anti-folk-alternative genre.
You might know her as the singer who wrote and performed the Orange is the New Black theme song. She also recently did a cover of While My Guitar Gently Weeps for the animated movie, Kubo and the Two Strings.
Her presence in the world brings me joy and hope. It’s no hyperbole to say her music changed my life. It may have even altered my DNA at a molecular level.
Regina toured this past year, and I got to see her three times. THREE TIMES you guys!!!
I saw her in my home state, and in New York City at Radio City Music Hall in March. Then I got to see her in November in Northampton, MA. Through a confluence of rare and unusual events, a friend managed to obtain backstage passes to meet Ms. Spektor after the show in Northampton.
OMGOMGOMG!!! I know, right!!!
It was going to be really hard to play it cool, but that was the plan. The entire show was like an out of body experience, and she sang Loveology and Pound of Flesh and Flyin‘ and a bunch of other oldies I’d never heard live before.
Oh, and also my friend and I were in the second row, just so, so, so close to this woman who has more artistic energy in a fingernail clipping than most people can imagine in their entire lifetimes! The show was unreal, and even if I’d never met Regina that night, it still would have pretty much been a perfect experience.
So, we stuck our backstage passes on our lapels after the show and waited in the appointed spot for the tour manager. There were people hanging around who didn’t have backstage passes, and they didn’t even try to hide their envy as they asked how we got “on the list”.
Finally the tour manager came to get us, and he led us down some stairs to a chamber that was all brick and basement and lacking in any glamour or glitz. And there she was. Regina Freaking Spektor. My spirit animal.
She greeted us with genuine warmth and kindness that set me instantly at ease. She was soft spoken and almost shy. We chatted about this and that and fuck tRump!
I got to tell her how I’d seen her at RCMH and how I heard her speak about Purim and the importance of resistance and how meaningful and prescient this had been to me at the time. I shared with her that I worked for a Jewish agency and she seemed truly delighted by this little fact about me.
While we were talking, her tour manager came up to her with a bag of lentils. She thanked him and turned back to us. “If you ever need to make a heat pack in a pinch,” she said. “Lentils work great! Stick them in a sock in the microwave.”
“Rice in a sock works good too,” I added.
“Sure,” I offered confidently. “Came in handy during breastfeeding.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I was sure I’d said the most flagrantly awkward thing on the planet. Who meets their idol and starts talking about breastfeeding? I apologized with a little laugh.
“No!” Regina said with a pleasant and unflappable grace. “That’s so real. Breastfeeding is real. I remember. . .” Somehow we got on another subject and then she signed my poster for my daughter and me. Love and peace and fun.
She gave us hugs and we took photos together.
The whole encounter didn’t last more than ten minutes and then my friend and I were on the road back home.
I haven’t posted here in a long while, and I haven’t posted about breastfeeding in a longer while. It occurred to me that this was a sharable little nugget.
I’m always searching for ways to integrate all these random bits of myself; to reconcile all of the parts of who I am to make something whole and awesome. There is me as an artist, woman, mom, wife, worker, and friend. There is me as someone who hopes and hurts and heals and hides. There is me as a sexual goddess being, created of life. There is me who is very private. There is me who is very proud and enthusiastic.
In a way, it is so totally perfect that I managed to casually weave a thread of one of my life’s greatest passions into my tiny interaction with my greatest hero. It felt awkward and crazy and just right. To me, that’s what my integration is all about, and it was received with gracious humor that night.