I Am Afraid I May Have Wished It All Away

posted in: Acceptance, Kids, Love, Parenting | 236

I wish he would start sleeping through the night…I wish she would hold her bottle on her own…I wish he would learn to sit up…I wish she could tell me exactly what she wanted…I wish he would figure out potty-training…I wish she could pour herself some milk…I wish he would watch something besides “Thomas the Tank Engine”…I wish she went to school for longer than two-and-a-half hours…2008-11-30 Thanksgiving

Now they do. And now I am afraid I wished it all away. My baby starting Kindergarten has hit me a little harder than I had expected. Cut to just a few short weeks ago, I was the one listing off the reasons it was time for my kids to go back to school. I was antsy, on the verge of discovering for the first time the freedom that comes with having both of my children educated all day long, five days a week. This was something I had passing fantasies about for the last eight years. So I didn’t expect to find myself grieving when my wish finally came true.

The first real wave of sadness came a week and a half after Michael started Kindergarten. The first day I went to pick up the kids from school, I pulled into the parking lot and almost instinctively started to get out of my car and head over to the tree where all the moms bring their little ones to play while waiting for the students to let out. Then it hit me: I don’t have a little one to bring to the tree. I was alone in the car. I felt as though I should pull out my phone to check my emails in the driver’s seat, just like all the other moms of older kids. I may as well start online shopping for graduation invitations while I was at it.

But the real emotional juggernaut came later, when Michael had a late start day at school. I decided to take advantage of a little alone time with him and head to a park. Mid-morning…at a playground. It’s like Mecca for toddlers. I couldn’t help but have constant flashbacks to the days of having little ones, as I was surrounded by all these moms with tots. I was suddenly overcome with the feeling that I hadn’t enjoyed those days enough…and now I had missed my chance.

In order to get my mind off of it, I suggested to Michael we take a little walk. We sat by the pond playing I Spy. Michael was coming up with his typical answers that are either totally obvious (“I spy with my little eye something that is blue and on my foot“…. Your shoe?“Yes.”) or totally funny (“I spy with my little eye something big that blows fire”… A dragon?… “Yes”… Where’s a dragon? “In my imagination.”). As we were playing, I couldn’t help but think about when he was younger, and he would simply spy the exact same thing the person before him spied. Grace and I used to giggle at him and try to pretend like we didn’t know what it was. As soon as we made one wrong guess, he would just tell us the answer. Either that, or he would simply start off saying, “I spy wiff my wittle eye a tree.” …Um, is it a tree?…“Yes.” As I oscillated between reminiscing and playing the game with him beside the pond, he said something so poignant, proof that God speaks to us through little moments.

“I spy with my little eye something that is red and inside you, and you give it to people when you miss them.”

I asked if it was your heart. He answered yes.

“You give your heart to people when you miss them so they feel better.”

I detected a slight break in his voice, which I knew was caused by his anxiety over the impending start time of school. I told him my heart is always with him to help calm the fears he is still trying to overcome. But I felt a break in my own voice…because I knew I was going to miss this moment one day…just like I was missing what already seems like a long ago time when we could come to the park on a whim, and I would be carrying around baggies of Cheerios and sippy cups of water in my purse. And both of my children wore tiny little shoes and outfits that matched because they still let me dress them. And I would shadow them around the playground, secretly wishing that someone we knew would show up so I could have a just little adult conversation. In stark contrast, at this moment by the pond, I barely made eye contact with the other parents, because all I wanted to do on this day was play with my son.wishedaway But it was time to take Michael to school, and I had spent the last five years of his life, and the last eight years of Grace’s life, wishing it all away…so I could have MY time. Now I’m spending my time wishing it would all come back. It can’t come back. I know that. It is silly to waste time wishing for it, because all I would be doing is missing out on who my children are NOW. I spent their past looking at the future; it would be a crime to spend their present looking at the past.

It is as if Michael knew on some level what I was going through that mid-morning by the pond. He somehow felt I was missing him in his toddler form, with a nose that was always snotty, a mouth that ate everything but food, and a body always ready to snuggle. So he told me something that let me know that same little heart was still beating in his bigger self, and made me realize that the boy he is now is better than the one I could have ever wished for then.

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This post was Freshly Pressed!
This post was Freshly Pressed!

236 Responses

  1. Annnnd cue something wet in my eyes.

  2. I can’t comment right now because it is too hard to see between the tears!

  3. This is so sweet. I’ve decided if/when I have kids, I’m not letting them grow up. I’m going to keep them in my purse like a terrier.

    • Thank you. And don’t think I haven’t tried. I kept having to get bigger purses…until I needed a duffel bag. I decided to stop because carrying your kid around in a duffel bag is pretty creepy.

  4. Great post 🙂

  5. Sweet, beautiful, and so, so, true. It passes whether we wish it would or not. Even when we are as present as we could possibly be for every moment. My oldest son (32) and his wife were here this past weekend. I spent part of the time coming up behind him as he sat on the couch, kissing the back of his head, in the spot that used to stand up so wild after his nap, wishing my precious little boy could return for just a moment. Pitiful, huh? But again, so, so true.

    • Not pitiful at all. I often think about how I will probably be one of those moms who annoy her kids by always trying to cuddle them and hug them when the are older. And I love what you said about kissing the spot where he used to have bed head. It is funny how little things like that become so dear to us.

    • ^That image just made me start tearing up all over again. ;D

  6. Kelly, This will hit home for all Mothers! You hit it right on the nail or should I say right in the “heart”! I still remember that feeling and still have it in some form or another. I remember just such a time long ago that I had, spending some one on one time with Matthew. He too must have sensed my sadness. It was when Michael turned 10 – double digits – Wow! He said, “Mommy I’ll always stay little and be with you – I’ll always be 5 !” Well as you know that didn’t happen but I treasure that memory today! Thanks for the post!

  7. This one is for women who “can’t wait to get their life back after their kids grow” and then realize their kids are their life and teach them everything that is important to know. Just wait until you are empty nesters! There is still time. You have a long way to go. This can be an epiphany that suggests in future you remember to relish every moment, even the intense moments. I wish we could all remember that.

  8. Needed.To.Hear.This. I don’t have nearly as much experiencing momming as you, but it seems like there is no possible way to relish those moments as much as they deserve. We are but imperfect vessels of the perfect love that we have for our babies. I guess this is both a good and bad thing?

    • Um, the whole imperfect vessels thing. Girl, you nailed it beautifully. And you are right, there is no way we can every fully appreciate the moments as they are happening. That is what makes it so frustrating when an era has passed.

  9. Great Kelly, you have said it all.

  10. I think they just keep getting better…you think they could never be as cute, or funny, or sweet and then they continue to wow you. Enjoy the ride!

  11. Most of us are guilty of this and feel the guilt too! I just wish I could figure out the key to life without regrets! It’s probably as simple as accepting that you strive for your best each day and knowing that’s all you can really do. But so much easier said than done!

    • Glad to know I’m in good company. And I think you got it right about that acceptance part. All we can do is make peace with what has passed. But it’s hard…it’s soooooooooo hard sometimes. And of course, at these sappy moments, all I’m remembering is the good parts of having little tots. Rose-colored hindsight glasses…

  12. I read this. I really tried to enjoy each moment of my guys. If you think it is hard to see them leave the nest and start school just wait till they go away to college and then again when they pack up all their stuff and leave for good. I remember Steve never looking back as he walked to his dorm and my heart sank. But a friend told me that was a sign I did a good job….that he could just go and not hesitate. And now the house is empty left with nothing but memories and it has been a total grieving process for me. I wasn’t prepared for this and no matter what people tell you to help get ready for it you cant imagine it until you experience it. They are my life and i am their mom and that is what I did for so many years and loved it. But like the Irma Bombeck poem says they are like kites and we have to cut the strings and let they fly. It is also my time to fly and find out who I am. Now we all have our own lives to enjoy and journey through. But one thing for sure is I will always be their mom. And they have my heart!

  13. Thank you for writing on this subject. I am feeling the same.

  14. I also had tears in my eyes…we had all 3 of the guys home a few weekends ago (a rare occurrence) and I just soaked it up. I miss my little boys, but I love the men they have become. You hit the nail on the head when you said you didn’t want to miss their present by living in their past. I think that as Mom’s we do spend a lot of energy waiting for them to grow up, and then a lot of energy wishing we could go back. It’s part of the territory. I will always feel them curled onto my shoulder, smelling that wonderful baby smell. I still feel their hand in mine walking to the bus, and I can still hear them bouncing off the walls playing some crazy version of some goofy game. I have tried to enjoy each stage of life as it played out, sometimes more successfully than others. Thank you for reminding me, in your funny and poignant way of the joys of watching my children grow up. And thank you for reminding me that they will always have my heart, and I will have theirs.

    • Oh Kathy….I’m crying again. Geez. I cried when I wrote this and then thought, “Good, that was cathartic. I got it out of my system.” Then I keep getting all choked up every time someone makes a sweet comment like this. And it makes me miss you!

  15. This post got me….. i am holding back the tears and trying to swallow the lump in my throat. Just last night as I sat on the floor with my current babies – my 7 year old walked past and she looked like a young lady and I instantly longed to have her outspoken, always smiling, chubby toddler back…. The time goes too fast….way too fast! I will say that having a 4 year span between my older 2 and younger 2 did give me enough time to realize to cherish the boys baby/toddler stages that much more knowing how quickly these days will be just memories!

    • I’m touched that this is hitting home with so many people. And I get it…I think age 7 is when you really look at them and think, “Oh my gosh, the are almost not kids anymore.” There is something about that age. And it does seem like you had a good plan…maybe I just need to have more babies! You sure have some insanely cute ones to cherish!

  16. WOW…..that had tears rolling!! It makes me want to take the rest of the year off of work and spend everyday with Molly and Kate taking in every moment before Molly is headed to preschool!Too bad that won’t pay the bills! Thanks for this post! Love that little insightful Michael Bear….I don’t think I will ever forget his “I Spy” line!

    • I know…but even if you stopped working, you would probably still end up feeling like this. And I think Michael Bear is a keeper. So are his cousins.

      • I know for sure I would still feel like this! Just saying I wish for more time because of it….but no matter what we will never have enough time!! When I read it it just made me want to be with my kids! 🙂 And yes I agree they are all keepers…don’t forget Miss Grace too! 🙂

  17. Just read my comment and meant to say “before Molly is headed to Kindergaren! 🙂

  18. The best you can do is write it all down, take lots of pictures, and find a good place to get a prom dress/tuxedo. Now that I have grand kids, it starts all over again… write it all down, take lots of pictures …

    • I fear I don’t write enough of it down. My son’s baby book is practically empty. But this is partly what my blog is for…to help me remember. And my mom echoed what you said about the grandkids. You experience it all over again. Thanks so much for your comment!

  19. This is very touching and resonates with me fiercely! Hold tight to those feelings you just wrote about, because I too have often thought I wished my sons life forward too fast. Often I wish I hadn’t wished all those wishes… because they do grow up to fast and before you know it they are… as my son is an adult.

    • Thank you so much. I love that so many people have been relating to this post. It has helped me with my own feelings of sadness over it to know that it really is an inescapable feeling.

  20. This made me cry. I’m in the middle of the wishing away phase right now, with two little ones napping while I try to cram in all the Me Things and all the house drudgery into whatever little time I get to myself. But I know these times of reflection are coming for me too, all too quickly.

    • I know…it is SO HARD when you’re in the middle of it. You can’t always appreciate the moments…it’s just not possible. But hopefully every now and again you will take a minute to enjoy the here and now…and then your kid will smear lotion all over the wall and you’ll go right back to wishing it away 🙂 That’s how it works, right?

  21. i’m not a Mom, but this broke my heart! x

  22. Sigh. What it means to be a parent. It’s always hard to see your kids leave the nest even if it is only for a few hours a day. That’s when all our prior complaints disappear and we stand wishing we could continue to complain. This one made my heart all warm and fuzzy. Beautiful post. Loved it.

  23. It is obvious from the comments that we all think this way – that is, wishing for the next step in our children’s lives when our lives become easier, rather than just being. My daughter has just entered her 3rd university year and every single time she returns home or leaves, I get all weepy. Then she gets weepy and we just get weepy on one another. I am so proud of the young woman she has become, and I tell her that so very often. She has a much greater heart than mine, and a genuine nature that I admire so much.

    Whenever I see a young girl playing or out with her parents, I think about what my father once said to me. I remember quite vividly that it was a day when I was frustrated because my young daughter just wouldn’t settle down for a nap and I was exhausted. My dad said ‘Just remember that although the days seem long, the years are short’.

    I’m getting all teary just thinking about this again………

    • Your dad is a smart man. I was just telling someone else that all the positive response to this post has helped me through the sadness I was feeling over this. It’s crazy that what started as a catharsis for me on a day I was feeling particularly mopey has resonated with so many people. But it’s nice to know that every parent goes through this…and that there are so many more amazing things to cherish happening now…and in the future. Thank you for your comment.

  24. Being a first time mum this is something I’ve often thought about. I can’t imagine my boy being anything other than a toddler but every day he’s coming out with new words. It’s scary at times realising your world rests in another’s hands (particularly ones so small!). Your message is a heartfelt reminder not to hurry through the day preoccupied with routine. Thank you for writing this, from both me and my tot 🙂

  25. I wished that Vic would die so her suffering would come to an end…Now all I want is more time with her.

  26. Weepy but thankful for the reminder. I’ll be playing UNO – again- the next time my kids ask 🙂

  27. I’ve already begun to feel this way as my oldest is now in preschool, thankfully I still have a toddler and baby I can savor everyday!

  28. Kids are a hoot. One should never give them the boot. My wife and I have three and believe it or not they all sat on my knee. But the got older and we set them free. Now they come and visit and pop in for some bread. That is what a parents does enough said.

  29. I love that this was Freshly Pressed! 🙂

  30. All teary here… with not-so-teeny-anymore boys wondering why. Beautifully expressed. And I think it only gets better as they become these older, interesting humans that say these awesome things. xoxo

  31. This truth is as universal as the gentle swaying of our bodies long after we carry a child on our hip. Beautiful.

  32. You really struck a nerve. Great post!

  33. Ahh! This post is really eye-opening. As a mother of two little girls (9 and 5) I often get so excited with each passing milestone, telling myself “thank goodness they’re getting older, less work for me.” I know, I know it sounds terrible but who doesn’t want their alone time? I love my children, they’re my reason for every waking day and reading this just reminds me that if my child stops to smell a flower, I should do the same because one day I’ll be walking alone : ( Thank you!

    • You are not alone in thinking that. I do it all the time. I think it’s only normal. But that little moment with my son made me realize to enjoy what leads up to those milestones, and i really love that this is resonating so much with others. It makes my heart happy. Thanks so much for your comment!

  34. Aw. Well even if you can’t enjoy the past again, at least you have the present. 🙂

  35. We mommies walk in shoes that have guilt soles on them. Our Coat-of-Armor is written boldly inside our chests, though, emblazoned across our hearts.

  36. This post came at such an ideal time for me. My little one is 6 months today. She’s been sick for the past week which means she’s been fussy, cranky, emotional and wants me to do nothing but carry her. I’ve been exhausted… Hardly any sleep and I’ve found myself wishing she were older so I would have to do less. As I reflect, I feel that I was loosing sight of the present and the joys of having my little one need me and want me to be her everything. Thank you for reminding to be present in every moment, even the difficult ones. Beautifully written, you even had me crying a little… 🙂 reawakened.

    • That really means a lot to me that this helped you right now…because nothing can beat you down like a sick baby. Anytime you don’t get sleep makes it so hard. And I think we are all allowed to have those moments of wishing a certain time to be over…I mean, who wants to experience cranky baby all the time? But it is also nice to remind yourself that sometime even the hard moments will end up being cherished ones down the road.

    • I think we may be the same person! I write this as I lay beside my (finally) sleeping, sickly 6 month old! Hubby works midnight a so all the night waking, soothing, nasal aspirating (blech) is up to me and me alone! Sometimes I remember to appreciate every second as she is my last (like those first 3 months where her tiny body took all her naps on top of me!) but most often I catch myself within things away. My oldest just started kindergarten and I don’t know where the time has gone. Thanks for the reminder!

  37. This is so beautiful and so true, and gives me a knot in my stomach. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy these precious moments. My youngest will be 2 in a couple of months, and I am dreading it for once. I think I’ve finally realized (after 3 kids) that you have to try to enjoy it as much as possible because one day it will be gone.

  38. I very much needed this to read today. Thank you. I am IN the throes of those toddler moments, with 4 kids ranging from 6 to 9 mos, and it feels never ending sometimes. The times that I get the angriest at them? when I perceive them taking away “my” time. Some day, in the not too distant future, all I will have is “my” time. It’s good for me to remember.

    • Girl, I know that feeling. I’ve done the same thing so many times. And I know how hard life can be with little kids…which makes me even happier to know this post helped you today. Some days you just need a little boost from an unexpected place.

  39. Thanks goodness I’m a male and didn’t need to have a cry over this – just got something in my eye that’s all! A great, engaging piece. Thanks.

  40. I have two young girls and yes, there are moments when I think, “I wish they’d do this or that” or “I wish I had some time to myself” – but I try so hard to remember that this time is ever-so fleeting in the grand scheme of things. Thanks for this reminder to stop and smell the roses.

  41. This is exactly what I used to say while I was a young mother. I couldn’t wait for her to grow up to become an adult and become my friend. Now that I know that this isn’t the correct way to approach the situation, I am hoping that she will read this blog and understand that this is no way to be….the way that I used to be. Now that I am going to become a grandmother, I want to take those little extra steps and laugh/giggle a little more with my baby’s baby. Its only fair that she/he gets to know that her/his grandmother regrets not being a patient mother…

    • I hear that is one of the best parts of becoming a grandparent…you get to try all over again. I don’t think you can be a mother and not have regrets. And your daughter is lucky to have a mother who is obviously so excited to be a support system to her as she embarks on this crazy journey!

  42. It’s so true, I did it and now I see my eldest daughter doing it with her three. As a Nanny I have the patience of a saint, I don’t care that the house gets trashed and we happily make mud pies, we all cram into bed together and sing at the top of our voices. We have even been known to dance when we hear music we like in the supermarket. Why I why didn’t I do this with my own girls. Sigh

    • Because even though you spend a lot of time with them and love them, they aren’t YOUR kids. You aren’t the one responsible for who they become, and that’s a stressful job. But what an amazing nanny you sound like!!

  43. I made that mistake with my oldest, but I remember holding my second child and thinking “this is why the baby of the family acts the way he does – no one pushes him to grow up. We know better.” Thank you for the validation. This is the end of the first week without both my kids (they’re visiting grandparents for the week while the sitter is out of town), and I’ve enjoyed my down time, but I find it bittersweet. I’m ready to get my babies back again for exactly the reasons you mention. Thank you for the post.

    • Thank you for your comment. I think you are right about the youngest. My son is definitely more attached to me than my daughter was at that age, and I think that is part of the reason. Enjoy the rest of your “me time” and hug on those kiddos when they get back!

  44. Oh my heart! I catch myself being exhausted, hurried and crabby. It’s rush rush rush to get my girls to school. By the time we get to the parking lot, whatever fit of temper that had been thrown over not wanting to brush teeth/wear shoes/you-name-it has usually evaporated and me and the girls hold hands. Even if it’s just from the car to the sidewalk where one always takes off running, hand outstretched old school football player style to press the button to open the door – that moment is mine. To feel the little squishiness left in their little hands, the tight grip and small steps. It’s a nice moment in the mornings. Thank you for this tear jerker of a post! It will serve as a good reminder for me to chill out and enjoy the moment!

    • I totally feel you on the whole morning routine! I feel like we have a similar cycle…I yell at them to hurry up and then feel bad about it as I’m driving them to school. I never want them to start off their school day thinking I am upset with them. So there is always that moment of reconciliation. It’s important.

  45. Lovely post. I’m feeling that now that I just walked my daughter up the stairs and watched her walk down the hallway to Kindergarten alone. I cried but held on to my youngest even tighter today. I had one start High School, one start Middle School, and one start Elementary this week. I’m a wreck. It’s so nice to see someone really understand. Thank goodness I have one more at home! 2 more years and I’m going to hold on to every second.

    • I am glad this post could help…you certainly have all kinds of milestones going on! With so much happening and how busy life gets, it makes it hard to always enjoy the moments.

  46. We are such playthings of time, aren’t we? Forward, ruthlessly forward, no matter what gets trampled. You put it so well, thanks. I am writing a song right now that touches on these very thoughts. I will try to remember to share it with you.

  47. adorable kiddos. Endings are Beginnings..Another step toward becoming their own persons. We nurture and love and enjoy these periods.. Time moves on. We cannot stop it.

    Enjoy now and don’t worry about the past. There’s nothing you can do about it.

    One day they will leave your home for good, but you will always be their mom…always hold a special place in their heart.

    Let them grow. You’ll grow with them. Then, one day they will fly your nest to incorporate the love, guidance and values you gave them.

    Your job is never over. Enjoy the ride!!

  48. Your words rang very true for me as I’m sure they do for most parents. This is one of the reasons I love homeschooling right now. Just to share more moments. They’re not toddlers anymore and they won’t be again, but they are young still and so precious.

  49. Good post , I love it ~

  50. Reblogged this on lettolearn and commented:
    perhaps i l will storage something there .

  51. Lovely post. They definitely don’t stay little for long do they?

  52. While I appreciate the ethos of yr message to ‘take time to make time’ and while no one will disagree that those early years are busy, I do feel the constant expectation for mothers to ‘seize the day’ and be the best 100% of the time, enjoying every second of babies and toddlers is a little over-stated!! I think we can chill out and enjoy our kids and still want certain stages to pass without being made to feel bad…

    • You’re right. It is impossible to “seize the day” all the time. I certainly didn’t and still don’t. And that’s not really what this post was about. It was just an honest outlet for a real sadness I was feeling at a moment. My writing helps me work through the ups and downs of parenting, That’s all this post started out as. If it helps people to take away the message to try to be just a little more present and enjoy what they can, all the better. It is unrealistic not to look to the future, and love every single moment of parenting, I will be the first one to admit that. I love that you say we all need to chill out…I think that pertains to a lot of things in life, and I find myself prescribing to that motto more and more as I get older. Thanks for your comment!

  53. Nice post. I remind myself not to regret, otherwise I miss another phase. Right now, enjoy, enjoy. http://healingsciencetoday.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/my-roomates-have-big-hair/

  54. You know, you just need to have another baby… 😉

    Really, though, I have been there, and will be again, no doubt! Hard to keep it all in perspective when you’re busy with the day to day routine–but you sound like you’re getting there! Good on you.

  55. I’m about to cry reading your post. Great, great post. I have 3 kids that are all in school and I am sad when I see moms push kids around the grocery store (I wished I could shop alone before) and, like you, I wished for adult conversation at the park (now I wish the kids would talk to me). Wonderful post. I’m so glad I read it this morning . I am going to make an effort not to wish anything away. Thanks.

  56. Beautiful story! For me the most difficult part of my children growing up is the growth it forces upon me. They are 14 and 10 now. They move on from their stages so easily and I get a little lost in what to do now, it helps to reminisce with them on how things use to be , they enjoy these stories . It was wonderful to hear about how your son knew what you may be feeling and acknowledged you <3

  57. bless his heart, his words brought tears to my eyes. thank you for sharing <3

  58. Thank you for sharing!

  59. Reblogged this on Blue Moon Mom and commented:
    I feel your pain deep down in my heart

  60. Excellent post. I’ve felt the same way very often.

  61. Oh bless you, it goes in the blink of an eye. but we are only human and tired and we all wish it away some days. Even if you don’t it still goes in the blink of an eye but each stage has its precious times. My son is 6 and Daughter is 15. That song from mamma mia gets me every time. “slipping through my fingers” sigh.

  62. As an empty nester, I have to say . . . don’t wish it all away. Cherish every moment. And remember to keep your own identity strong – you are more than a parent, you are an individual, a role model for your child.

    • Very true. That is one of the blessings of having your children grow up…you start to remember who you are as a woman, not just a mother. Thanks for your comment!

  63. I shall never forget when I felt this same pang of regret– it was after I got my Master’s degree as a single mother and realized how much I had missed/sacrificed for a degree. Sigh.
    This was a great article… thank you.

  64. Great post- made me tear up 🙂 I’ve got 18- month- old twin boys and it was a crazy week this week. But I could totally see my future self in your thoughts. (And my present self wishing it all away sometimes!) Thank you for sharing and being so honest.

  65. Beautiful and heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing this. My younger son just started kindergarten last week, and though I’m enjoying my hours at home alone, I do miss him, and I have moments of regretting not taking better advantage of the time we had before, not enjoying it more in spite of the difficulties. All in all I’m happier with our lives now that everyone is potty-trained and I have a little more time to myself, but it’s hard not to occasionally want to go back, just for a few hours, just to cuddle my babies again and really appreciate it one more time. All we can do is make the most of the time we have now, because some day today will be the day we look back on and long for.

    Jeez, I’m getting all teary here…

  66. Always searching for the elusive carrots dangling in front of us… more time, easier days, less challenge…it is so much harder to take pause and live in the moment. It is never too late to enjoy the vulnerability and raw power of loving THIS moment! Great post!

  67. Wow! This was very touching. I have a 2 and 4 year old, and have been really working lately on enjoying this short time in their lives instead of wishing it away. It is very hard to do.

  68. I loved reading this!! I sent it to my mom – all she ever says is how she wishes I were young again!! She enjoyed it too x

  69. This post made me smile and cry, at the same time. Its so poignant.
    Weirdly, i remember my first day of kindergarten. My grand father was crying outside my class room, the teacher had to ask him to leave. That feeling of saying “bye mom” and stepping out, i felt bereft.
    Reading from a parent’s point of view makes me realise just how wonderful this bond is.
    At least till the time we kids don’t grow up to become absolutely irritating brats.

  70. Aah, you told me something that my mum tried explaining it to me a few days ago…she said that she is happy to see me all grown up but a part of her misses the younger me as then all my time was hers…i didnt see that then but I now know and this is all thanks to you 🙂

    • Glad I could help your mom out with that 🙂 Sometimes it is hard to really understand how our parents feel until we become parents ourselves…that’s how it was for me.

  71. Goodness, this brought tears to my eyes! My littlest has just started school this week and It has been much more difficult for me than i imagined!

  72. What a sweet comment from your son! I love when kids say things that melt your heart!

  73. Beautifully written. Choked me up as I completely relate.

  74. Love that your son was intuitive and spoke in words what you were feeling. We parents are so often the ones learning, aren’t we? Thanks for sharing. Have felt that same ache at different stages, for sure.

  75. Such a wonderful post! You really hit the nail on the head, beautiful!

  76. My baby turns 30 next month. So many times I wish for just a few minutes with his five year old self. Just to hear his hearty little boy laugh, hold his trusting little boy hand. Get a hug, ruffle his hair, tickle his belly.
    Thank you for your wonderful post.

    • That is a bit heartbreaking. I know I will likely feel the same things when my kids are grown. My 8-year-old already rejects my snuggles every now and again. Thanks for your comment!

  77. Love this. Brought back such memories. At 23 and 18, I still long for their snotty noses, dirty feet and snuggles.

  78. […] is a beautiful thing to find you resonate with people. “I’m Afraid I May Have Wished It All Away” was mostly a cathartic way for me to deal with a real sadness I was feeling. I often find tiny […]

  79. I’m so glad I read your post! It’s beautiful and you described exactly what I’m feeling watching my first head to school. Thanks for making me look at my time with my kids differently.

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to know so many parents have read this and thought about the time they spend with their children in a different way.

  80. My baby just started school too and though I’d been waiting for it since he began to crawl I was beside myself with longing when he wasn’t there in the mornings, following me around with his garbled English which only made sense to me. I think this is when you cut the cord, when you make them take their first step in to an independent society. I kept worrying if he’d make friends, if he’d play nice… I’m still anxious, I don’t think I’ll ever not be anxious for him.

  81. So beautiful. I read an article with a similar message a little while back and have been trying to be more conscious of enjoying my time with my daughter since. It’s amazing how much happier and more relaxed I feel. She sees all the beautiful details that I would have normally have walked right by. Thank you for another {more eloquent} reminder. *teary smile*

  82. Wow that is absolutely beautiful. It can be so hard watching time pass by, but just remember that there will be more lovely times to come 🙂

  83. Wow!! I can totally relate to your beautiful post. 🙂 Heartfelt tears as well. Following you now from: http://www.dancinmoma.wordpress.com.

  84. moving piece. This will put me to sleep nicely.

  85. I am a new mother and just reading this made me tear up because of how precious everyday truly is with your little ones. Thanks for writing.

  86. Great post, I feel the same but mine are off to college, off to university, and one has just graduated and has his first job. It’s a new chapter in my life, but where has all that time gone?
    I often wish for my babes and toddlers back, though I do remember how hard those times were.
    I will enjoy being a Grandmother one day 🙂

    • Grandparenting…all the good things about parenting without the hard stuff! Right? Although my mom said now she has to go through feeling this way all over again watching her grandkids grow. Thanks for your comment.

  87. Going through the same mood your post was written in. A phase I’ve never attempted to capture in words, thinking I’d never be able to. So this is what that heaviness is about! Love your writing. Thank you for breaking my dam 🙂 And I totally relate to the experience…those magical moments when children respond intuitively….get me teary every time. Times when you wonder who’s the grown-up!

  88. That’s a beautiful post and speaks straight from my heart. I have three children and I just got back from delivering the oldest one, age 19, to the airport as he leaves to volunteer for a year in South Africa (see: christiansmother.wordpress). I can remember my kids starting at kindergarten and I, too, often feel I have wished it all away. Those 19 years have passed so quickly… Enjoy it while you can.

    • Wow! What an amazing adventure! But I’m sure as proud of him as you are, it has to be hard to let go. I have trouble letting my kids ride their bikes out of my sight 🙂

  89. This is beautiful! I felt the same way about nanny kiddos, can’t wait to have my own! 🙂

  90. I really enjoyed this post. I have 2 little girls, 3 and 10 mths old and I find myself constantly wishing I had more time to myself. This is a GREAT reminder that they wont be little forever and to enjoy these moments. Thank you 🙂

  91. What a sweet little boy with such a sweet heart. It made me tear up – and I’m with the moms that watch the younger kids at the playground, but mine is still young and I just dread the day he gets big. 🙁

  92. the past is always wonderful for telling, though sometimes bad or good, thanks for writing .. very inspiring .. 🙂

  93. Beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes because I have been having VERY similar days. My youngest is 2 and goes to school once a week (by her demand and ever growing lust for knowledge) and my three (almost four) is now at a preschool 3 days a week. I can’t believe how fast time has gone and I remember just a month ago counting down the days until my oldest started school. Now they both go and I know there is no going back after this. They will forever be “school aged children.” My lazy days of lounging around the house bored and crazy with toddler mess have come and gone in a blink of an eye. I pray I haven’t wished it all away just yet… Beautiful post. Thank you.

  94. Well written, thank you for sharing! I have four children my oldest is in his second year at college, my youngest started 7th grade… And you have said it well… Don’t wish it all away, but don’t dwell in the past, enjoy the NOW! I have to remind myself this when I get a little weepy for my little ones. Keep writing mommy!

  95. I think all mothers wish it that way. When the babies are in the crib, we wish they could walk. When they start walking we wish they were in school. When they start going to school, we think things will settle down once they start college. AND when they get in college, we wish things were back to when our children were still babies! I still miss the time when my children were toddlers, saying those garbled words, just making mess and topping it will a angelic smile!

  96. when my son started school for the first day , I cleared my schedule, was prepared to spend time in the kindergarten in case he cries or had to be sent home. I took him to school on my two wheeler and as I was parking it, he slipped from the back took his bag, I asked him to wait but with in minutes he was inside the gate and happily in the play area, on a swing in front of school, without even a goodbye. I had to shout for him and say good bye and he just waved , he was too happy and excited. I came back wondering what to do with rest of my day and missed him.
    Same thing happened with my daughter she was too eager to get out of the car and practically ran inside the building , met few kids and started playing, I was like , what!. but then this time blow was a little less profound then my son’s time. In a way I was happy that they were independent just the way I wanted them to be, but yes it was kind of sad to let go too.

  97. This post hits home on so many levels. I am on my 5th baby and I find my self again wishing they wouldn’t be so little or wishing just enough that they could hold their own head up or sit on their own so I could have a moment or two to myself without having to hold a baby all the time. Now when I look at my now 7 year old I miss him when he was just a baby. Not sure if I miss him being so little he couldn’t talk because now all he does is talk back and give me attitude. But I still find myself wishing the time would roll backwards so I could have just another moment to cuddle with that sweet little innocent boy.

    • Well, I think someone with five kids deserves to wish for anything that makes life a little easier 🙂 But it’s kind of nice to hear that even someone with many children, one of which is still a baby can feel this way. I sometimes wonder if having one more would help ease this feeling…but I guess no matter how many kids you have, they all grow up.

  98. A very heartfelt post. Society needs to listen to it’s heart more and it’s children. They have to grow up – one of my favourite poems is, Your children are not your children, by Kahlil Gibran. But do make more time to be with them.

  99. Lovely post. Good for you for stopping to smell the roses now . . . before they’re 18/19 heading off to college.

  100. Kell – I want to compliment you on this post….I’m stalling because I’m trying to figure out how to make my compliment ‘mean something’ to you, so how do I do that? Why do I even want to do that? Perhaps it’s a common personal need that comes to many (most) of us when they begin to think that ‘they have it figured out’. That’s the stage of life I am in and let me tell you – it is freaking awesome! My 1st 2 boys are grown and doing spectacular and my 3rd, well, let’s just say the jury has not even left their bench yet. Otherwise here I am, here “we” are and we’ve built a life of accomplishments together. Our kids are great and we have the benefit now of looking backwards and shouting ‘see people? this is how it’s done!’ Take a look at a recent photo tweet I made the other night of my boys from 1994. I want it to be 1994 again so badly sometimes that I can almost taste it. Your story took me back to 1994 for 5 minutes. I tend to ‘get into things’ so yes, I have a tear right now. That’s what good writing though is supposed to do – move you. Thanks for moving me. Nice job!

    • Well, you succeeded. What a wonderful comment, and I am truly touched that my post inspired those thoughts. It is high praise. Knowing the joy you feel about your children now that they are grown is also a nice thing to hear…it shows me that even though I miss what has already passed, I have so much to still look forward to.

  101. As a mother of 2 boys (2 and a half and 7 months) I honestly try and cherish every moment but cherishing every moment is also abit of a myth! Every person has there breaking point and it’s only natural to want these things especially when your so tired after a hard day. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world! In general I do cherish every second with my boys but like many my lack of patient can sometimes get the better of me! Great read!

    • You’re right. It is REALLY hard to cherish every moment …even when they aren’t itty bitty. And I don’t think we need to feel warm and fuzzy about it all the time. We can’t. But when I wrote this post, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that maybe I could have found more little moments to stop and take note of. I can honestly say that since writing this, I do find myself to be more aware of the GOOD stuff about the ages my children are, instead of getting bogged down by the rough stuff.

  102. […] Remember me? I’m that girl who blogs about stuff you sometimes read. We shared comments about wishing things away, scorned nine-year-olds at slumber parties, and most recently, being okay with the fact that your […]

  103. […] like the childhoods of my children were slipping through my fingers…and I had been stupid, wishing their little years away. But now I have another chance to hang up a few more hand print paintings, to get report cards […]

  104. […] #3 I Am Afraid I May Have Wished It All Away […]

  105. I have no words. This gave me goosebumps so badly that my nipples are hard.
    I can’t wait to go home and hug my kids…thank you!

    • Oh my gosh…you just made me laugh so hard! I can’t say anyone has ever told me my writing has done that to them before, but I take it as a very high compliment.

      • I write the truth! I had to cross my arms over my chest so that none of my co-workers would think that I had become inappropriately excited by spreadsheets because I would never sneak online during office hours.

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