What I Will Miss

by Amber Strocel on December 17, 2010

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I have two children. My daughter Hannah is 5 1/2, and my son Jacob is 2. While I like to believe that I’ve parented them in the same way, they are two very different little people. From their very first days, they have made their individuality clear.

I have found this very freeing, as a parent. It tells me that my children are their own people, and it is not my job to make them fit into a mold. I strive to teach them the things they need to know, and set reasonable limits. But when my daughter has a scream that could stop a train, or my son constantly runs from me in public, it is not necessarily a sign that I have failed entirely in my parental duty. They are simply expressing themselves in age-appropriate ways, based on their developmental stages and individual personalities.

And you know what? When they outgrow those stages, I miss them.

This struck me the other night, as I was awake at 4:00am (again) nursing Jacob back to sleep. I never remember how I got to his room, but I find myself there every night. My daughter Hannah was a champion sleeper from a very early age. I thought I had it figured out. But at almost 2 1/2, my son Jacob has slept through the night exactly three times. They have different sleep personalities, and I do my best to respond to them appropriately.

Hannah takes a turn at the wheel
My children, just as they were for one instant out of their childhoods

Once Jacob drifted off, I shifted him and threw my arm around him. I felt the back of his soft little hand, and listened to his quiet breathing. It was warm and cozy and so peaceful. In the wee hours of the morning, it felt like the two of us were the only people awake, on that double bed in his bedroom. And I knew, I knew, that I would miss these moments one day.

Our children’s neediness can be hard to take. Sometimes, they need so very much of us that there isn’t anything left for our partners or ourselves. They wake us from sleep, they cling to us while we try to pee, they interrupt us while we talk on the phone, they cry because we brought them the wrong sippy cup. But in these moments, they are also perfectly expressing themselves as they are right now. Little people, who see the world in us, and reach out to us with total faith.

There is so much that is good in the midst of the chaos that is parenting young children. I strive to cling to that goodness. Little pieces of childhood, stolen moments between my child and myself. If I’ve learned anything in my 5 1/2 years of parenting it’s that these moments will be gone, and all too soon. And so I try to reach out and grasp them, even though I know I can’t. And sometimes, on a random Tuesday at 4:00am, I almost succeed.

What moments will you miss when they’re gone? What do you do to hold on to them while they last?

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Amber Strocel (27 Posts)

Amber is a hippie mama to two, a writer, a dreamer, a student, an erstwhile engineer and a lover of chocolate. She lives in suburban Vancouver with her family and one very cranky tabby cat. Keep up with her on her blog at Strocel.com.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jillian December 17, 2010 at 9:49 am

Thank you for reminding me to enjoy each and every precious moment with my son, even the ones at 4am!

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Camille December 17, 2010 at 9:54 am

Perfectly said Amber! I have a 4 1/2 daughter and a 1 year old son and feel the exact same way! I will miss those night time feedings and co sleeping snuggling up next to each of them while they drift off to sleep. We are gradually having my daughter sleep in her own bed because none of us were getting enough sleep being so cramped. Although still in the same room I feel a mile apart from her and I already miss it…she is taking the transition so well (I’m the one silently missing her). They are both so different and I have to constantly remind my self that they are their own individual self. There is so much I already miss and so much more I will miss and I try hard to capture each moment in my memory and in my heart.

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Cat December 17, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I have 3, currently ages 4,5 and 7. The things I know I will miss are beginning to come fruition.
1. My momma’s boy, 5, being shy to give me kisses in public.
2. The excitment from my oldest daughter when I enter the room, I am totally “just mom” to her
3. My newly 4 year old who is spending more and more nights in her own bed.

I tried to write down many moments in their baby books that I know I will miss, eg., falling asleep to a nursing child only to wak to find them peacefully sleeping, the soft glow of the nightlight in my childs room and the soothing music in wee morning hours.

With three, things often get hairy, but I’ve come out of the “fog” of new motherhood and I can see much more clearly the things I’m going to miss.

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Rachael December 18, 2010 at 3:01 pm

How about this conversation?

Me to 2-yo Critter: “Hey, you’re Mommy’s cutie-pie!”

Critter to me: “No, Mommy’s a cutie-pie!”

Me: “No, you’re my cutie-pie!”

Critter: “No, you’re a cutie-pie!”

Somehow I don’t think we’ll be having conversations like this one when the Critter is thirteen.

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Aida December 18, 2010 at 9:52 pm

I recently realized how much I miss already… I miss our nightly nursing sessions and long cuddles as he drifts off to sleep… I miss our going for a special breakfast alone on Fridays… I miss just being alone with him now that I have 2 children. My toddler now has to share every moment I have with him and that saddens me. For now, it has to be this way. My baby is only 1 and so very attached to me that I can’t leave him with anyone else for too long. I know things will change eventually and then there will be something else that I will miss. Ahhh, the life of a parent.

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Naomi December 19, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Hey Amber! I didn’t know you wrote on this blog too!

It is hard juggling all of mine, now 3! I think spacing them the way I did has helped giving everyone some special time together in many combinations, me with two boys, Hubby with two boys, each of us with one child..and all combinations and usually Mommy and baby! Oh and we need couple time also! It helps that I am not working outside the home and hubby has good hours and a 10 minute commute!

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jill January 14, 2011 at 5:34 am

Amber – I so can relate. My Amanda just turned 5 and my Eddie is 18 month. there are no two different people as these two. My baby girl i have to beg to eat she is such a nibbler (just like her mommy) and Eddie I wonder if he ever gets full and will eat just about anything. Right now Amanda and I share a room and Daddy and Eddie share a room. You see Amanda and I snore like frieght trains and Eddie and Daddy are both very light sleepers – what a house hold we have. I love the morning snuggle times and I love holding my little Eddie to rock to sleep for nap times – I know I will miss these times.

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