On missing it

“We sat on the bed and cried,” she said as the rest of us listened quietly. “And my husband looked at me and reminded me that that part of our lives is over.”

My neighbor is preparing to drop her second child off at college in a couple of months and she and her husband will be empty nesters and it struck me as I listened.

This part of my life will end.

Some days it doesn’t seem that way. Life seems to drag forward at a snail’s pace and I feel like bedtime will never come. But before I know it, they’re tucked in and sleeping soundly and one more day has flown by, the dark quiet a reminder that this part of life has an end. The raucous noise and unsquelchable energy, the snuggles and hugs and kisses – they all have a stopping point.

And then…

I’m going to miss it. Like really, really miss it. Heck, I already miss it and it’s not even over yet. There’s a chance that could have something to do with the effects of the hefty dose of Nyquil I just took, but it’s hard to be sure. The fact is, I am going to miss this time in our lives so very much.

It’s not really fair that the first few years of child rearing are done in the fog of sleepless nights because it’s so much harder to remember when you’re a zombie. Just ask any zombie you know and they’ll tell you the same thing – you memory is the first thing to go when you enter zombiedom. You have to check it at the door and you don’t really regain it until your baby hits about 3 and you are afforded consistent sleep on a nightly basis.

And then suddenly your baby is four and you realize that you can’t really remember him like this anymore:

And you think, “How did I get here?”

It’s not like I didn’t know life flew by and I would miss these young moments. I have moments like this all the time, though, where it really strikes me – this time is short. I’m so glad I’m enjoying it.

Not every moment of every day, of course. That’s impossible. I don’t enjoy the constant bickering and having to repeat myself 152,641 times a day and the dirty feet on the couch and the crying over Lord knows what…I don’t enjoy those things. And I don’t think I’ll miss those things.

But I will miss this time, those minor annoyances included. I wish it didn’t fly by so quickly. I wish I didn’t love bedtime so deeply. I wish I could bottle up their laughs for ever and ever so I could listen drink in their innocence from now until eternity.

I really am going to miss this.

There’s also a chance, however, that if I don’t go to bed immediately I’m going to regret this little moment of nostalgia altogether. I need to sleep so that tomorrow I won’t be longing for bedtime the second my feet hit the floor. Sometimes the missing is entirely my fault.

So what about you? What are you going to miss? Or, if you’re already past the child-rearing years, what do you miss the most? What should we younger Mom’s be trying to hold on to as long as we can?


  1. This really hit home because my wife and I have four year old twins and just came to this same realization. It seems the days can’t go by fast enough but want the years won’t slow down. I think you’ve really described the duality of parenthood perfectly. Thanks.

  2. Well, I’m kind of in the middle. Tim and Megan are adults, Nathan and Rachel are 12 and 10. Some days (the really stressful, kids are fighting and testing me at every turn kind of days) I really question my sanity in having those last two. 🙂 But then I stop and think, I am in no way ready to be empty nested, but I think I have reached a point in my life than when I do get these last 2 into adulthood, it might be a bittersweet relief. ha ha. After all I will have spent 30 years raising kids.

    • Wow. I hadn’t really thought about it that way. I guess life has a way of preparing you for each next step, Hugh? 😉

  3. I’ll miss my constant shadow, the one who is always so concerned about where I am and what I am doing. I will miss her innocence and of course, I will miss those baby cheeks, her Bedtime Bath and Bedtime Lotion (which I will put on her until she will no longer let me) and the smell of baby detergent. I will miss cuddling up at night reading books together. We’ve done that since she was 3 months old when she first started sleeping in her nursery.

    I love this post Kell!

  4. I can remember my kids being small. In the middle of one night I walked down the hall and checked on all of them in their beds. As I closed the last door I leaned against it and whispered a prayer. “Lord, they tell me these days will move quickly. They say it will be over before I know it. But right now they are all home and safely under my roof. Help me to live these days well and to remember this moment.” Well, that was about 20 years ago.. I do believe I lived those days well. I’m very proud of what all three of them are on the way to becoming. And I’m proud of who they already are. And oh how I remember that moment. That was a righteous prayer. Now when I get up at night and make a silent trek through the house it is with a different prayer. “Lord, thank you for what you have done! Thank you for what you are doing! Thank you for that lady over there that I do it with! I have no regrets, Lord. Now let me show others the way!” And He does. It’s different, this stage of life. Certainly not worse. Not less fulfilling. But it is “redefining.” it’s a good place to be. Enjoy the moment but know that you have nothing to fear on the other end. There will always be those in need of love and, if you do life right, you will always have love to dispense. It’s a win.