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?