A while back, I wrote an article about the things I WON’T miss about my kids when they grow up. It was filled with the mundane stuff, like changing nappies, buckling them into car seats and finding places for those never-ending kinder crafts.
When I sat down to write about the things I WOULD miss, I was a snotty, sulking mess by the end. Because like you, my kids are my life. They’re my favourite humans in the whole wide world. I know that one day, my “things I’ll miss” list will eventually turn into real-life memories and that makes me feel so sad, but so grateful, that I got to experience them. Physically writing them down made me more aware of enjoying those moments right now, while they’re still happening. I hope reading them does the same for you.
Here are the things I’ll miss….
When they were excited by the SIMPLE things:
You know when you say to your kids, “do you want to go to the park?” and they look at each other for a second before screaming, “YEAH!!!” and jumping up and down excitedly? It’s the special time before kids go through the materialistic meltdown of adolescence. It’s a time where they are overwhelmed by the excitement of a spontaneous game of Whack-a-Mole, a bike ride or just realising it’s fish and chip night.
When every outing was NOT a fashion parade:
Babies don’t care what they wear. They’re happy to roam around in rompers, or even just a nappy, without a care in the world. The older they get, the more annoying they become when it’s time to leave the house. From throwing a fit about the pair of pants they want to wear that are in the washing pile, to wanting to wear an evening dress for a trip to Woolies, the days when our kids had no say, and no care, about what they wore is something we’ll really miss.
I’d be hard-pressed to find a better smell than that of a baby’s breath. Even when it’s all manky from an acidic milk chuck, it’s still good. Even as toddlers and little kids, there was nothing better than when the kids would hop into bed with me in the morning and breathe their sweet breath right into my face. I could seriously suck that smell into my nostrils all day. As they get older? Not so much. It seems the age of seven is the height of bad breath.
I know that one day, my “things I’ll miss” list will eventually turn into real-life memories and that makes me feel so sad, but so grateful, that I got to experience them.
The uncontrollable belly laughs:
If a baby’s breath is the best smell, then the best sound would have to be a little kid’s belly laugh; one of those uncontrollable ones that makes their face flush and their eyes water. It always seems to be something completely random that sets them off, like you tripping on a misplaced shoe, a funny tone to your voice or a mid-sentence burp, but it’s that randomness that makes it so much better. As they get older, you have to work so much harder to muster one of those laughs before eventually, they’ll become teenagers and they won’t think ANYTHING you say is funny.
A hug from your child is like a hug you’ve never felt before; it’s the ultimate physical manifestation of love. I’ll miss the fierce intensity of those often-random hugs. I’ll miss the connection my son and I have when he looks over at me and comes and grabs my face and kisses me, smack bang on the lips, and throws his arms around me almost intuitively, just when I need it most. I will miss them reaching for my hand, even just to walk down the hallway. I will miss them being small enough for me to bundle up in my arms and hold close to my chest, just as I did the second after they were born. I’ll miss the physicality of our relationship that I know will come to an end – because kissing a 15-year-old on the bare bum is not good practice.
Ok, I’m going there. When you have young children, they don’t know what the hell those noises are and are more than likely to sleep through them. When they’re babies, you don’t even need to worry about answering questions about the noises coming from the other room. When they get a little older and DO hear something, it’s easy to bullshit your way through it – “mummy had a bad dream,” “daddy had a headache,” blah blah. Time-is-a-tickin’ on this one, so go forth and get your lovin’ on before they’re old enough to get what’s going on and you’ll have to do it so quietly you might spontaneously combust.
It’s a time before the often shocking reality of the world and the constant barrage of ‘bad news’ is in their line of sight. I’ll miss being able to protect them from the awful stories on the news or on the radio because for now, I have the power to just switch it off. I’ll miss my soothing words being enough to make their nightmares go away, and my arms being enough to make them feel totally safe and protected. I’ll miss their ability to see only the best in people in the innate way that only a little kid can.
I loved my daughter’s lisp when she was around three. It made everything she said sound like the cutest thing ever, especially when she’d get mad and it was more pronounced. All those times of sitting with her, modelling how to say ‘smile’ instead of ‘sthmile’ have paid off, but I miss it so much. I’ll miss their cute way of saying things, like ‘merote’ instead of ‘remote,’ or when my little boy always asks me to turn his clothes ‘outside good’ when they’re inside out.
When they’re just so bloody happy to see you:
Nothing says it like school pick-up. The look on their little faces when they spot me in the sea of waiting mums is one of genuine happiness and on some days, total relief. I love the moment when their eyes connect with mine and they smile and run to me as fast as they can, their oversized school bags making them look like the most gorgeous little turtles. I love when they look up at me and say, “I missed you mum,” and I can look straight back at them and say with complete honesty, “I missed you too, honey.” Because I really did.
Most of all, I’ll miss how much they not only need me, but want me. I know that in the blink of an eye, they’ll be all grown up because it already feels like a quarter-blink since I was rocking their tiny bodies to sleep in my arms and getting drunk off the smell of their delicious baby heads. The time will come where they won’t reach for my hand anymore. Their ‘merotes’ and ‘outside goods’ will be gone and instead, I’ll be the one reaching for ways to have them spend some of their time with me…and begging them for a game of Whack-a-Mole. Just for old times sake.
What will you miss most when your kids grow up?
Constance Hall spoke to us about the often unthankful job of raising small kids at home. Have a listen below, then head here to subscribe to our podcast.