I Miss My Kids

You know that feeling when the kids are small and you are exhausted, and you wait all day to put them to bed so that you can have a few minutes to yourself only to miss them and long for them the second you do?

Watching them grow is a similar process.

When they were small and needed every ounce of me, I was exhausted and longed for them to grow more independent so that I could have a few minutes to myself. And now that we are here? I miss them with everything I have.

Yup. I miss my boys.

…even when we are together.

I miss the closeness. I miss being wanted. I miss feeling completely connected.

I have been here for every single second of their growing—not missing a single moment … not blinking—yet everything has changed and so much has ended, and I didn’t see it coming.

It is not that I wish that my kids were still little. It is just that I wish there was a way to hold on to it all … to bridge the gap somehow between what was and what will be. A way to know when everything is ending so I could soak up all of the last times.

But somehow, I can’t remember.

I can’t remember the last time.

…the last time their hair smelled of baby shampoo after I washed it.

…the last time they asked for a bed time story.

…the last time they asked me to lie with them until they fell asleep.

…the last time they crawled into my bed and nestled into the curve of my back as I slept.

…the last time they came to me, arms extended, to be carried.

…the last time they begged, “Mommy, play with me.”

I do not remember the last time that they picked me wildflowers or searched for the perfect rock to gift me.

But as my relationship with those littles draws to a close, I am grateful for the relationships that are just beginning with big kids who are finding themselves and their way in this world. Their interests more closely align with mine and my husband’s now. They talk sports, and politics, and world issues. They share a love for comedies and old-school rap and hip-hop music. They want to spend more time with their friends, and their friends are nice extensions of our family.

I may not remember all of the lasts, but there are still so many firsts. They are learning to navigate the world more independently. They are learning to walk away from things that no longer fulfill them, to lean into things that ignite their passions, and to tolerate the hard things that are non-negotiables like school and chores. They work through disagreements with their friends and each other, and probably have a love interest that (gasp) isn’t me.

And I am here for all of it. I am on every bleacher, in every stand, cheering them on from every sideline. I am also sitting inches from them on the couch in silence because I know that they had a rough day. I am driving them, feeding them, paying for them, and praying for them.

They may not always want me right now, but I am never far when they need me.

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