I Kind of Thought This Would Last Forever
Looking through photos, I see the one of you grinning up at me with your big brothers. You all look so tiny! My breath feels short when I see that photo and realize it was two years ago now. Only two years ago and, WOW TWO YEARS AGO ALREADY!
I kind of thought it would last forever.
Oh, not babyhood, not toddlerhood. I knew you’d all get bigger…but then, even if I didn’t think it would last for ever, I was lulled into feeling like it would. And some days, oh man, this youngest part of childhood felt like it was dragging on forever. With three kids each a couple years apart from the next, I’ve only known parenting with a baby or toddler in the mix. This is the view of parenting I’ve had. It includes a toddler.
Somehow with you turning four soon, the very temporary nature of having kids at home seems overly noticeable lately, and it’s got me feeling a bit wobbly. I keep thinking of things I thought we might do while you were little and realizing that that’s that. We did some great stuff, but it’s time to dream about new adventures with bigger kids.
I’ve said things when I was tired of this grinding, exhausting parenting phase like, “I know I’ll miss this one day.” and “The day are are long but the years are short.” and I guess I meant them, but maybe I also said them as a sort of talisman. Like if I said these things it would be a magic spell against the sadness of seeing you grow up and away from me.
You, my daughter, my nearly-four year old, are my youngest and my last child. I don’t want to go back and relive the sleep deprived days of babyhood, nor the days in toddlerhood when I questioned my sanity as the house devolved into toddler-fueled chaos, but at the same time I see you today and I realize that toddlerhood is done. I feel an ache as I remember a few years ago, looking out at all of the possibilities, possibilities that lived in my dreams, unspoiled by the realities of parenting three kids and being a flawed and growing human being.
Perhaps you’d picked on my meloncholy mood the other night when you unexpectedly asked to be carried to bed cradled in my arms like an infant.
I picked you up and breathed in, feeling more than usual the sweetness of still being able to cuddle you in my arms as a small, if slightly dangling and almost too big, bundle.
I kissed your head and told you, “One day, my love, I won’t be able to carry you like this any more. You’ll be too big.”
And I felt your little body tense up and your voice cracked with sadness as you said, “Oh Mama! On that day I will want you and WANT you to carry me.”
That did it, the sadness near the surface finally bubbled over and this time as I breathed in, my breath caught and the tears came down.
“Oh baby. On that day I will want to carry you. And I will try, and if I can’t carry you, I will hold you in my arms and hug you instead.”
And I stood there in our dark hallway, crying onto your hair.
I held you and tried to soak in the feeling of wanting to carry you and still being able to.
Oh my baby, I will always want to carry you, but you need to grow. And so do I.
So I’m gonna keep on breathing, little one who is growing big, and I’m going to stand ready for that hug should you come back for it.
64 Positive Things to Say to Kids
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I feel this feeling daily… everyone tells you ‘it goes by fast’ but nobody can prepare you for how that feels and how as “fast” as it’s going, it still “creeps up” on you… (I’m crying!! My son turns 3 this summer and I’m already feeling this as I see him changing from toddler to little boy!)
Oh, why did I read this?! My baby starts kindy on Monday. Thinking about it has been making me feel sad for months. Now I’m crying. You’re an evil woman (;-p). It’s a beautiful post.
The Guilty Mommy
made me cry. I was also looking through pictures this evening thinking about how small my now 6 year old used to be. How he would run to me with open arms and jump onto almost knocking me over. Now I walk through the door and he remains where he sits. When did he stop running to me? When did he get so big? He asks me to cuddle all the time and I do. I tell him that someday he won’t want to cuddle with me and his response is always. “Mommy I will always want to cuddle with you and I will always be your baby.” Makes me cry just thinking about it and about the day when he stops asking. Great article. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for this.
My Little Poppies
Oh, tears!!! I’m feeling like my kids are getting so big lately. They are more independent and more helpful, and that is a welcome change, but boy it pulls at the heartstrings when you read something like this or see the baby pics. 🙂
Yep. This is where I’m at. Thanks so much xx
My youngest of three will soon be 4 as well. This was good.
Thanks a lot Sarah…..totally depressed now!
This article totally killed me. I was bawling, my husband was worried. My kids were asleep (almost 4 and a 15 months) and I almost went and woke them up to hug them and kiss them and snuggle with them… but they aren’t the best sleepers as it is soo… 😉
Love this… Thank you for sharing.
Linda Henderson Gosnell
This hit home for me. Last night was blissful…my 6 year old sat on my lap while our family watched a movie…she fell asleep on me, drooled and sweat on me. I was in heaven, and so was she.
Melissa…. Just what I’d been saying xx
Mari Vanessa sorry girlie hope julians doing better.. But it touched my heart and i knew it would also touch yours?????????????????????????
Deanna Reilley U0001f62aU0001f62aU0001f629U0001f495 Awww!!! Why did u do that to me!! I’m so emotional right now! U0001f62a you made me cry as I’m doing exactly just that!! Struggling to hold my 4 yr old boy tightly … U0001f622U0001f495U0001f64fU0001f64fU0001f44d
Oh my, I read this and it’s totally for me! My baby (4th) turns four on the 31st. It’s so bittersweet. This lady wrote exactly how I feel!! Wow!
Jennifer needs a good sob. It’s been a few hours. 😉
MariVanessa Bill N Marcy Lansford
Not fair. You made me cry…
A great one! I read this a while back. It’s beautiful. My kids are 5, 2, and 4 months.
Cristal L Medeiros
I slept in my sons bed last night in part for this reason. First grade has been kinda rough with increased work and sit time. The stress has caused a bit of regression so rather than fight it we’ll support and embrace it a bit. Won’t be able to do this forever!
Oh dear, shouldn’t have read that!…..i feel this so much right now with my only one having just started nursery at 3 1/2….
I can so relate to this right now.
I cry every time I read this!
BEAUTIFUL… just beautiful
Enjoy the next phase of childhood, make as many special memories as you can. Before you know it they will be all grown up and moving away to go to university. I cried the day my first born had to move away and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I know they have to leave the nest at some point, but I don’t think you can ever really prepare yourself for that moment they walk out the door.
Nothing if Not Intentional
I saw this post pop up in my newsfeed, and it makes me teary-eyed! I do have a question about this line: “I keep thinking of things I thought we might do while you were little and realizing that that’s that.” What kinds of things were you thinking of? I’ve read your toddler years bucket list, but are there other things you thought you might do when the kids were still little?
I think that the truth is my dreams of what we’ll do together will always be more than what we actually do, as dreams don’t include the messy moments. It’s not that I’m unsatisfied with her toddlerhood, it’s just that you can think of a million different things, but you can only enjoy a select few.
The line “…but you need to grow. And so do I” really, really hits home for me. I am so sad my girls are growing up and letting go of the third child we once wanted, but I need to grow and move on to new things, too. Thank you for that.
You’re so welcome Nelia.
Just started crying instantly! I know I’m pregnant but still…it’s so true
Shawn Ledington Fink
Great post … sharing it. I feel this way, too. Sigh.
Suzanne Charlton Fetter
Ahhh, your welcome creative with kids!! I just wanted to let you all know, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and no there is no train attached to it!! You will all get there and when you do, I honesty hope you embrace it and enjoy it!!
Ok, momma’s get ready for this:
It has been 3 years since my last child, my eighth, left home and I am still trying to find a purpose to life that comes even close to the importance of being a stay at home mother. My conclusion: There is nothing as important as creating a loving, creative, safe and healthy home for those you love. There is nothing that fills your heart and soul with joy as does the physical and emotional closeness of a mother and child. Appreciate the mutual adoration of babies and toddlers and even pre-adolescent, and the challenges that come with the search for self and independence in the teen years. You are needed, you are irreplaceable in their lives, you are doing the most important work on the earth. Please don’t ever feel that you are missing out on life because you are lucky enough to be a stay at home mother, nothing else compares with being an available mom.
Other “emtpy nesters” have shared similar feelings with me. We have bee a little miffed that this transition in every mother’s life does not have warnings: Warning! There is an expiration date on being a Mother. So please enjoy, relax, breathe, appreciate, listen, hug tighter and longer, laugh, love, and write special memories of these precious years in your heart and in your journal.
Creative With Kids
Thank you Suzanne Charlton Fetter!!
This has made me cry! My little girl starts nursery next week & even though my little boy is only 7 months old I really feel so sad that my baby girl is getting so big & grown up & I have to share her! I really cherish the moments when she wants to snuggle or squeeze me now & I will miss it so much when she gets to not wanting to do it anymore! X
Suzanne Charlton Fetter
My boys are 12 and 10, so I’m fairly well removed from those toddler years. I will say this much, I LOVE that my kids are so much more self sufficient at this point. I LOVE that very soon my husband and I will no longer have to pay a babysitter if we wanna go out for the occasional date night. I LOVE not having to haul around a diaper bag that weighs almost as much as my baby!! And while I do occasionally, think about those sweet toddler days, when they needed me for EVERYTHING, I kinda like now a lot better!!
So sweet..and I really know what you’re talking about. We had the same feelings not so long ago with our oldest (now 6 years) I guess we’ll always feel like this- torn between the thought that they need to grow and the fact that we sometimes wish the time stopped ! https://www.creatifulkids.com/big-princess-small-girl/
So sweet..and I really know what you’re talking about. We had the same feelings not so long ago with our oldest (now 6 years) <a href=”https://www.creatifulkids.com/big-princess-small-girl/”>I guess we’ll always feel like this</a>- torn between the thought that they need to grow and the fact that we sometimes wish the time stopped !
This is beautiful. My only child is off to grade one this year. You captured my feelings in this post. Thank you! I’m happy for those hugs when they come, the snuggles before bed, and the “kissing hand” before drop off. ??
The Measured Mom
Love this post so much!! I think about it when I hold my two year old. Growing up so, so fast!
I’m more scared that my boys won’t want that hug! That they’ll grow up and not want a hug at all. I worry that they don’t feel they can tell me things and they won’t trust me to help them when they get older and find out what an imperfect mother I am….until then I’m just going to keep hugging!!!
Cristal L Medeiros
U0001f625 had a similar convo last evening. I’ve been feeling the wheel of life pressing on lately even though I want it to slow down! On all sides-definitely with kids but even with elders!
Jane Elizabeth Taylor that was lovely 🙂 can’t really imagine them being any different….
Jane Elizabeth Taylor
Andy Charrington make the most of this time
Creative With Kids
Hugs Annie. It’s big growing for mama and for the kids.
Mine are 6 and 7 – this is where I’m at and I’m so very sad about it…
Joanne Tannock Gosling
Captures exactly how I feel watching my girls grow. So beautifully written x
It does indeed! Watching her grow up is going to quickly, I remember her first few words, and thinking at that time I can’t wait to hear you talking sentences and now it’s full blown amazing conversations. It went to quick!
Creative With Kids
I think it’s a good reason to give yourself a lot of grace during these early years. Some days simply are terribly exhausting, so if you want to find any joy in them you have to be able to both find ways to care for yourself as best you can and also let go of the guilt instead of wasting time on it.
Creative With Kids
Time seems to stretch out and yet seem to short with kids doesn’t it? Hugs.
This completely nailed every wishy washy, back and forth, proud/melancholy moment I’ve had today. This day was another adventure in realizing my life is constantly changing and will always do so, no matter how badly I might want to freeze time.
This has made me cry, my little girl has just started school and I miss her toddler days, almost feels like forever ago! She is a very cuddly child and has also asked to be carried like a baby a few times, and I embrace those lovely moments with her! Soon enough she won’t be wanting as many cuddles and I’m not looking forward to that.
Welp, I cried. And mine is only 11 months! I’m already feeling it sometimes :/
This made me cry! I still have a baby and toddler in the house but it is a reminder that even in the hard days, I need to enjoy them at this age because they really do grow so fast.
So sweet, this made me a little weepy ;( What a wonderful moment you shared, so lovely.