A letter to my kids


Dear Katie, Matt and Tim

You’ve made it!  Congratulations!  You are all grown up and all moved out of our house.  I am proud of you, happy for you and so unbelievably sad to see you go.  I don’t know how to proceed with my life now that you are no longer its center.  I’m afraid to become a hovering, overbearing “Mamma bear”, but I am not ready to just let go of my role as your Mom.

I’ve been asked to put my thoughts into words, to tell you how I feel about the stage that we are leaving and the one that we are reluctantly entering.  How to capture all that in a page or two?  I’ll try, but know that there is so much more still left to say.

So this is what I miss:

An arm around my leg as I stand at the sink

Little hands framing my face and holding me still for a kiss

Bathtime

Bed time stories

Rocking a feverish little body in the darkest part of the night, soothing hair back from your face

I miss the rush to the door when I come home from work.  I miss Saturday pancakes. I miss beach days and backyard fires and helping with homework.

I miss knowing that I have to get home in a hurry, because people need me to be there. Knowing that you need me to cook for you, need me to keep the fridge stocked and the bathrooms clean.  That I need to be there at bedtime.   I miss knowing that the fact of my existence is what gives you strength and comfort and makes you feel safe.

I miss driving you places all the time, because when we were together in the car, you were a captive audience.  I asked questions, you answered.   I miss the feeling that I knew the most important things in your life.  I miss sitting in the cold parking lot waiting for you to come out of school/work/practice.  I miss how your first words would be, “Hi, Ma.” And your next would be “What’s for dinner?”

I miss the excitement of your birthdays; making just the right cake (dinosaur eggs, remember? Angel cake? Ice cream cake!) and getting you just what you wanted, and it wasn’t money, and you didn’t find the link and forward it to me.

I miss teacher conferences and doctor visits, because those were the times when other adults praised me for the great job I was doing as your mom.   I miss the steady and constant positive feedback that came with raising all of you.  The strangers in the restaurant who complimented Dad and I on your good manners, good relationships with each other and your extreme adorableness.  I miss those days!

And this is what I look forward to:

Thanksgiving, when you’ll all be around my table, and I will cook and serve and laugh and bask in everyone’s praise.

Unexpected Friday nights when you will drop in for dinner or a glass of wine, or because you need some advice or help from us.

You inviting us to your place for a meal.

You calling to ask me how to make meatball soup, or chicken parm or sauce.

I look forward to knowing when I will be alone, instead of being surprised either by your absence or your presence at all hours of the day and night.

I look forward to the relative neatness that I anticipate in the house.

I look forward to you saying, “I miss you, Ma.”

I look forward to you calling and asking if we’re free this weekend, so you and your significant other can go out to dinner with us.

I can’t wait for you to drop by because you want to tell me about something cool that happened at work.

I remember way back, when I thought I might never have you guys, and I would picture coming into Grandma and Grampa’s house, and you guys yelling “Grampa!  Grandma! We’re here!”   And then those times, those sweet little happy voices in the front hall, really happened.  And you got to play Dominoes with Grampa and you got to eat Grandma’s cookies.  And you loved those times!

So now I look forward to hearing your car in the driveway, and hearing your children at my door, yelling “Nonni!  Pappa! We’re here!”

Still your Momma,

Mom

31 thoughts on “A letter to my kids

  1. Oh the car rides, and the parking lot waiting and I really miss that too, along with everything else! These transitions are not easy are they? The gold truck in the driveway no longer means Dan is home! We just need to find a way to define ourselves, which my friend, we’ll do together!

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    • Thank you for reading this! Thank you for understanding! I live in fear of becoming a terrible “mamma bear” or much feared “Mother-in-law”. But, oh, how I miss those babies in my kitchen……….

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      • You should have seen me trying to repeat the part about the school conferences and doctor visits to my husband (note I was driving during this conversation), I could get that part out, but “because those were the times when other adults praised me for the great job I was doing as your mom,” I was a blubbering fool (and a dangerous driver). Still blubbering. 🙂

        I think your blog might be what I need right now – these feelings have been bubbling up and it is really nice to have a place to feel them. 🙂

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  2. Smooooch!
    I am a little extra sad tonight, missing my babies voices (even when my brain is saying, “Oh, get OVER it already!)
    I lift a glass of bubbly to you, and to all of the many Moms who are missing those sweet baby days!

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  3. Pingback: What is a Naked Rake? «

    • Thanks! This letter was “homework” from my therapist when I went to her to get help with my newly emptied nest.
      Do you really have TWO three year olds?! Wow! Off to check your blog!

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  4. Wow, well said. Our kids are 6 & 4. After reading this point, I’m going to give them an extra hug every day (bringing the total to about 45/day). Thanks for reminding me where we’re at in the journey!

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  5. You wrote MY letter. The only time I ever did that therapy thing – when the FIRST one left home. I learned it was okay to be sad. It was sad. And yes, I have a full life and lots of interests but with four kids it wasn’t just what I did – but like you, what I liked to do.

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  6. Wow I can so relate to this – in fact I couldn’t read all of it because I started crying. I’ll probably write about it soon enough but right now it’s just too hard. Hugs to you and thank you for the post.

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  7. My mum forwarded this to me, saying how she’s bad at expressing herself through words but that this letter had perfectly conveyed what she wanted to tell me. “You’ve made it!” – “I miss you, Ma.” and now I’m a sobbing mess of emotion on the floor.

    Really beautiful. Going to go give my mum the biggest hug ever. Thank you for the lovely post!

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  8. Not ashamed to say I just read this post AGAIN…a year after the first time and had the same emotional reaction I had a year ago. So powerful. A good reminder of what’s important. Small moments that feel stressful and chaotic, but ARE the good old days.

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  9. Very sweet post. My kids are ages 40 and 36……..and I still miss them being underfoot. I miss the “Hi, Mama! ” when they came home each day from school……..I think it’s something permanent, like DNA. We are forever listening in the night for those baby noises, or teenaged bad dreams, even after the house is empty. The sound of their laughter is what I miss the most…….

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  10. My one and only son is 15, and already I miss so many of those things, while others have yet to happen. You have captured the experience of raising healthy well adjusted children beautifully. Thank you.

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  11. Pingback: What Am I Going to do to Sell Our House Today? | The Worrywart's Guide to Weight, Sex, and Marriage

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