My oldest is teenager, and my second oldest is on his way to becoming a tween. This realization has caused me to reflect on just how fast children grow up right before your eyes. It’s true, you have to relish in every moment, even if the moments aren’t that great. But it’s those not so great moments that you begin to appreciate as you see them registering for classes for high school, or when you have to have “the talk”.
I have begun to recognize the fact that my two oldest children don’t express their love (and appreciation) for me the same way my two youngest children do. While I know that my children love me dearly, their love for me has changed, and I am totally okay with that.
My two older children are busy with sleepovers, sports, after school activities, video games, and other things, so with their ever growing social life, it seems as if the days of them just wanting to cuddle up next to mommy and read a book or just sit on the porch with me and watch the cars drive by, are slowly slipping away. However, my three youngest children just can’t seem to get enough mommy snuggles.
Isla and Sarah have semi- social lives, they play sports (well except for that time we tried t-ball and soccer), they shuffle off to school or ask for sleepovers with friends. Aaryn however, is still at the stage in life where she absolutely needs me for every little thing (well they all do, but you know what I mean).
To them, I am their best friend, and they make sure to let me know it. In their eyes I do everything right; all boo-boos are easily solved with kisses, when they are frustrated a good hug will calm them down, when they are hungry for an after snack-snack or pre-dinner snack, a cheese stick and few grapes will suffice and I don’t have to listen to endless whining about how it wasn’t good enough.
There are plenty of moments with my two and four years old throughout the day that I get exhausted from all of the huggings, and yes there are even moments when I am tired of hearing “I love you”. There are nights where I will call around and ask someone to take them for a few hours the next day so I can “breathe” (meaning get the hell away before I have a complete breakdown).
Then there are moments when I just want my older daughter to say I love you without it sounding forced or for her or my son to just hug me without my asking for it. But guess what, it doesn’t happen. There is no more spur of the moment “I love you’s” from them; no more goodnight kisses or even them telling me goodnight.
They know they are too old for those things, and in a way, so do I.
So while I still have the chance, I am going to enjoy the few remaining years of hugs and kisses, bedtime stories, tea parties and endless I love you’s. Because before you know it they will stop. Even though you know without a shadow of a doubt that the love is there, just be prepared for it not to be expressed in the same way.
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.