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5 Things I Do (And Don’t) Miss About Raising Kids

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“Raising kids is tough, occasionally super-tough. There are times you think you’ll never survive,” says Laurie, pictured with her then young boys — Paul (l) and Patrick (r).

By Laurie Stone

Raising kids is tough, occasionally super-tough. There are times you think you’ll never survive. But you do. And looking back, you realize it’s one of the best, most life-changing jobs you’ll ever have. Still, certain parts I would never have the stamina to relive.

Getting Them on the Morning Bus

Every parent knows this last-minute mayhem. Shoes disappear that were there moments before. Urgent papers are pulled out of backpacks, needing to be signed as the bus is pulling up. Convenient “stomach aches” have to be verified for authenticity. I remember often feeling I needed a glass of wine at 7:15 a.m.

And yet, the other day, I was sitting in my car, watching kids get off a bus in late afternoon. I saw parents’ faces light up as their little ones scurried toward them. I saw the hugs and kisses. I saw the proud showing of artwork or some little trophy. And I saw then how I miss those moments, those daily reunions, when my kids returned safely home after a long day.

Helping with Schoolwork

I tried to muster interest in long division and earth science and beginning Spanish. I really did. Yes, English was more my thing, but I hadn’t read The Great Gatsbysince high school, so even that was a struggle. I just wasn’t a natural enthusiast when it came to my kids’ schoolwork.

Still, the other day, I was cleaning out my son’s old room when I came upon a collection of those little hand-made clay figures he and his brother made in art class. I remember my kids coming home, proudly handing over their latest masterpiece — a man’s face, a green dog, a lopsided house. As I picked up each little treasure, I realized I miss getting these things on a regular basis.

Early Morning Soccer Games

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a sports gal. Two days before Super Bowl Sunday, I can’t tell you who’s playing. So having to get out of bed early Saturday to walk onto any playing field was excruciating. I’d try and smile and match the enthusiasm of my fellow parents. Usually all I could do was muster an occasional, anemic, “Good goal!”

But, a funny thing happened recently. I was in our village market on Saturday morning. A gaggle of soccer kids and their parents burst in. I heard them talking and laughing about a winning play. And that’s when I realized I miss that sense of community. I miss my kids being part of a team. I miss being in the town’s “Parent Club,” even if was for something I was less than enthusiastic about.

Daily Dinners of Mac & Cheese, Hamburgers & Chicken Fingers

That’s one of the annoying things about kids. They need dinner every day. My problem was that meal prep came at my most tired, wilted time. Looking back, my offerings were stupidly simple and sometimes served by a cranky mother.

However, the other night, my oldest came over for dinner. Patrick now rooms with buddies. My youngest Paul lives at home, but is always working and socializing. It’s rare having dinner with just the two of them. As we sat around the table, I realized I miss the daily catching up. My meals may have been basic back then, but there was something nice about cheering a good grade, commiserating over something that went wrong at school or laughing at their jokes. It made me feel close to my kids.

The Frenzy of Christmas

I admit, I complained about the constant work of this holiday when my kids were little. The decorating, the tree, the presents, the food, the cookies and the wrappings — all seemed to go on and on. Thank God, Randy was a better shopper and knew the best gifts for our sons. Still, I remember getting to December 25 feeling like I’d finished a triathlon.

Then, something funny happened last year. I found myself alone in the living room on Christmas morning, waiting for everyone. And that’s when I realized I missed it. I missed the look of excitement on my little boys’ faces as they scampered to the tree — usually at 6:30 a.m.

Yes, I still spend Christmas mornings with my sons — now hulking guys with beards, holding mugs of black coffee — and I love that. But for all my grousing, I miss that innocent joy of past Christmases.

It’s funny, when you’re in the heat of the parenthood battle, you don’t see the things you’ll miss later. You don’t see the small moments that will someday make you ache with nostalgia.

Sometimes I think I’d like to go back and visit, just for a few hours — even if it means having to eat macaroni & cheese

Laurie Stone writes from the woods of Easton, Conn. Her blog, Musings, Rants &Scribbles,” shares thoughts on growing up, older and (hopefully) wiser. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

4 Responses to “5 Things I Do (And Don’t) Miss About Raising Kids”

  1. Shari E says:

    So true. Those sweet moments are fleeting. We need to remember to enjoy them at the time — but sometimes it is tough.

  2. This touched my heart! My youngest just graduated from high school but is staying home to go to college. Parenting was one of the hardest and happiest things I have ever done.

  3. Kathy says:

    I totally get your feelings. My youngest is getting married in a few weeks. There is still awesome chaos when the family all gets together but now it’s mostly due to anywhere from 5 to 7 dogs that all attend with their owners!

    I don’t miss helping with homework but I love that they all call for a shoulder to cry on or an ear to just listen.

    Good stuff!

  4. Diane says:

    *Sniff* Please pass me the chicken fingers . . .

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