I Adore My Teens, But I Crave Those ‘Little’ Years

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“As much as I love being a witness to my kids’ becomings, I grieve.

I grieve the moments swallowed up by the years.

Tiny toddler hands hanging onto my pinkies.

Scared voices calling out for me in the middle of the night.

Their scent. Dirt and syrup and fresh air captured in their wrinkles.

The smell of them fresh out of the tub.

Baby curls at their temples and the nape of their necks.

I grieve their need for me, that bottomless need I could never seem to fill. They always needed more and it exhausted me at the time, but in this moment, in the grieving moments, I crave it like a drug.

Sometimes I can hear echoes of the past ringing loudly.

The infectious way they used to giggle. An expression flickering across their faces.

It takes me to when they were young and it is a surprise punch to the gut.

That version of them has layers of imperceptible transformations laid on top.

I want to go back for a second. Just one.

I want to feel the weight of their heads in my lap, their tiny hands pressed into mine.

I want to swing them around in circles: once, twice, three times, to hear their giggles.

I want to hear their high-pitched voices say ‘Mama’ and ‘Mommy’ and ‘I love you.’

I make space now to both adore my teens and crave those littles.

Grief winds around my limbs, a vine I keep cutting back.

I choose to welcome the losses as they come, usher them in and ask them to sit.

We just sit for a while.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Melissa Neeb from Never Empty Nest and Faith In The Mess. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Melissa here:

Kids With ‘Show Up’ Parents Become ‘Show Ups’ Themselves

Your Teen Will Bring You To Points You Never Imagined — And EVERY One Will Make You Love Them More

‘You taught me the joy in slowing down. Jumping in rain puddles after a storm. Curling up on the couch with heads full of dreams.’: Mom pens sweet open-letter to firstborn

‘The dance of cutting kite strings while weaving ropes. Pushing away, but still needing.’: Mom shares emotional ups and downs of parenting teens

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