My daughter is about to go back to college (for her final semester if you can believe that!!!) It’s always bittersweet when I give her a hug as she lugs her bags into the cab to take her to Penn Station to catch the Northeaster to Union Station… There are parts of me that will miss her, and their are parts… not so much.

I love having my daughter around because she is intelligent and we have great conversations. She is well versed in current events and culture, and has a mind of a sponge because she remembers things that were taught to her in years past. Yesterday we were at MOMA and as we looked at an exhibit she recalled things her 8th grade social studies teacher did as a lesson that correlated with the work we were looking at.

When she leaves I miss the conversations.

My husband doesn’t eat cheese. When I say this I mean that he doesn’t eat nachos or cheese fries or a charcuterie plate that includes cheese. While sharing cheesy tater tots isn’t an activity to base a marriage on, his not eating cheese and most things dairy can be difficult to plan meals around and takes away some small things that I find pleasurable. My daughter eats cheese.

When she leaves I will miss having someone to snack on cheese with.

My daughter will pretty much try anything cultural. Off beat play? She’s in. Weird art? She’s in. Foreign film? She’s in. Golden Girls themed dinner? She’s in.

I will miss having her around to see things and discuss things.

My daughter likes to stay out late. She doesn’t do this every night, but one or two nights a week she is out late. If she’s not home I don’t sleep well. Just can’t.

I will not miss being bleary eyed because my daughter was at a club till 3am, and then had pizza.

While my daughter is highly intelligent, she is also mainly book smart. She lacks life experience and a certain amount of maturity that only comes with the years. Because of this she can be righteous. Oh boy can she be righteous.

I will not miss the righteousness.

She asked me the other day if I missed her being younger- she said there’s been a lot of TikTok’s about how parents miss their kids when they were younger, when they had trouble walking in snowsuits and mispronounced words and just generally the things we find endearing about the not so fully formed humans. She asked if I ever wished she was five again…I told her that while I have many fond memories of her younger years, I have appreciated every stage of her life: but, I don’t wish she were younger or had stayed frozen at any point in time. I have enjoyed the journey of parenting her from being pregnant (ok- not morning sickness) to toddler to preschool, elementary to middle to high to college, and now as an adult. The memories are wonderful but I don’t want to live in the memory. I’m ready to close out the undergraduate years and look forward to watching her as she encounters the next step on her journey.

When you say you miss your kids, what is it that you actually miss? Do we really miss kids as they were, or is it just a little wistful to look back at time and see how fast it really goes when you’re not paying attention?

81 thoughts on “What We Miss

  1. It’s the little things we miss! Those are the things that bring brightness to our days and our relationships! Congratulations to your daughter for being so close to graduating!

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  2. I love spending time with my daughter too for many of the same reasons. But she is in her forties, has her own lifestyle (which is very different from mine) and is her own person. We do love to sit up and chat into the night and we love to share food, including cheese. (funny but my hubby doesn’t eat cheese either!) We share happy memories of her growing up but I love having an adult daughter.

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  3. I absolutely miss the conversations so I’m really glad 2 still live close enough to have those in-person moments. I love talking with my kids about everything and I learn a lot from them and about them. Jeff just turned 35, Alison turns 30 in March, Cara is already closer to 40. I can’t believe I’m writing those numbers in connection with MY KIDS! I don’t deny that on some days I would welcome living moments all over again with them.

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  4. I agree with you, LA. I don’t miss any former stages of life. I enjoy recalling all the good times fondly, both with and without kids, but I don’t need any do-overs! Like the others, I love the times we do get to be together and I sure as heck wish we all lived closer, but I’m proud of them for the lives they’ve made for themselves.

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  5. I love how you wrote this with both what you will and will not miss. Beautiful.

    When the pandemic first started, my kids were 4 and 7 months. Instead of being able to work from a coffee shop, I worked from my home office. What I missed most was the feeling of missing them – and then the lovely feeling of greeting them again.

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  6. Well penned and thoughtful, as ever. Yes, I miss my children. I certainly have great memories of when they were wide-eyed with wonder at every new happening and how innocent and charming they were. I also have great memories of their first disappointments and introductions to the harsher realities of life. Now they are adults, I love it when we visit and it is as >natural’ as it ever was. When they leave to continue their own way in the world, I miss their presence and look forward to seeing them again. Thank goodness for modern telecoms! 😉

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  7. Other than the cheese (my wife does like chees unless it is on a pizza), a common discussion at our house. My wife frequently says she misses the days when the kids were young and she could manage them. Adult children can be both an object of pride and aggravation.

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  8. Maybe because I still have two adult kids living with me it is hard for me to relate to the “missing” of them. Our oldest lives on her own but honestly, while I like seeing her and hearing from her, I can’t say I miss her. Good luck to your daughter on her last semester. I remember when she was heading out for her first year.

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  9. My daughter is living at home again while in grad school. I missed them when both kids lived away but I’m definitely finding things I didn’t miss now that one if them is home again. I’m glad it seems they will both settle somewhat close to us.

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  10. A very thoughtfully written blog. I think most of us moms can relate. As our children grow up we love and appreciate different aspects of their personalities. And certainly with each year of college we see intellectual, physical, emotional and perhaps spiritual growths in their development as they become adults.
    A strange thing happens when we suddenly see our kids as adults. It took me longer to accept my youngest as a full fledged adult. I don’t think I was emotionally ready to accept my “baby” as a grown man. And yet it happens right before our eyes.
    It’s a good feeling too. My boys became men. And now I’m watching my grandchildren grow up. Life is pretty extraordinary. How fortunate we are to experience this phenomenon!

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    1. I still want to take care f my daughter. She leaves tomorrow so today we went to a spa with temp pools and sauna, and I’m making her her favorite dinner, so yeah

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      1. The taking care of, the nurturing aspect, never seems to leaves us Moms. My oldest son will be 50 in June. And yet, I still worry about him. I found out quite by accident that he’s on blood pressure medication. I was surprised and asked why he hadn’t informed me. His answer of course was that he didn’t want to worry me. When he got Covid he kept it from me as well, but my grand daughter face timed me telling me in detail how her father was isolated from the family in the master suite and how she missed him. And that the doctor told them to stay away from him. Lol Thankfully during the height of the pandemic my grand daughter liked to FaceTime chat with me so I knew what was going on. But I always worry. That doesn’t stop when they grow up. No, I don’t worry about their judgement, or their decision making skills any longer, but I worry about their health, if they work too hard etc. Lol so you never stop worrying. And yes my natural instinct is to take care of my family. I remember being a working mom and having kids in sports, drama, music, etc. Life is busy and messy! That’s part of what makes it great.

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  11. Each stage of kids growing up has its pros/cons, so I don’t miss when they were little. What I miss is having them around. Doing activities with them. Having the house noisier rather than quiet. Although, my daughters are now 27/30, we’ve started a new rhythm of doing things again together. Walking, grocery shopping, going to a diner, pedicures together, etc. So, it seems that life just keeps evolving, right.

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    1. I agree. That’s exactly it. Sometimes you just miss having them around.
      Not 24/7, but it’s nice to spend time with them.
      Living alone gets easier and easier. And I find I enjoy it. But now and then, family visits are the best! ❤️

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      1. I just smiled and thought. We miss them, then we get used to being alone. Then if they come for too long and they have all their demands on what they eat, etc. It’s time to hug them and show them to the door. See them in small does. LOL

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  12. After spending a week with my kids in their mid and late 20s, I enjoy them now as much as ever. We watched great movies, discussed literature, stayed away from politics and enjoyed amazing food including Korean, Mexican and Japanese along with my son’s charcuterie with Humboldt Fog and the most delicious cheese that I can’t remember the name. I’ll ask my kids and get back to you. If you like cheese, it was amazing.

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  13. Almost every stage in my daughter’s life, I cherish. (Teenage years were a bit of a challenge.) Now that she is an adult and married with children, I enjoy her company and cherish the moments we’re together. We talk like old friends and can be our goofy selves for a good laugh. She’s a precious gift that I’m lucky to have.

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  14. Lovely post, thank you. My son is 22, & living at home again to save money before traveling overseas in March for a big adventure at last. Sometimes I DO feel wistful for all the years gone by- the things I’d do differently, the delights I’d relive- but dwelling on it just creates upset, so I steer my heart and mind away. Parenting is a long lesson in letting go… and it sounds like you have a great attitude to it all 😊

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  15. I live in North Carolina. One of my sons lives about twenty minutes away but the other is closer to you, in Brooklyn. While I do miss them both when I don’t see them I take comfort knowing that they are married, settled and happy. Thankfully they both have a good career, more than I can say for their father by the way and can take care of themselves. I think of them often as kids but I think I also realize that my job as a parent isn’t done and probably never will be. We do share memories, have different politics, but we do agree that we love the Yankees and not that other baseball team in NY. Would I go back? Honestly, yes. I would change a few things about me, a different approach to them and maybe be a better father. So maybe “miss” isn’t the right word.

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  16. I totally get this. My older daughter was home for a week over Christmas holidays. When she leaves, I always miss her chatter around the house. She and I are the talkative ones. My husband and younger daughter are quieter. When she first moved away to college it was a big adjustment.

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  17. My daughter leaves Next Monday, my son left last Wednesday and saying goodbye doesn’t get easier.
    When I feel like having a good cry I look at old pics and remember when… But when I say I miss them I truly miss who they are now. I love the laughs we can have and deep conversations.

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  18. My first son is 38 now and married. My second son, I adopted after his parents died, when he was 26, so I didn’t experience his childhood. My first son is married and working. I miss those days when he was little and so cute. I felt so loved and needed. I look at his 6’6″ frame and it’s hard to imagine that he was little once. I love him either way. He is making a good life with his wife now. My second son married early but they have a great marriage and three beautiful children. Life is good. I am thankful they are all living good lives.

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  19. My kids are teenagers right now and what I do miss is the baby stage. I miss having all the answers and being able to soothe them with my breasts and arms. The older they got the harder it became to find answers for their sorrows and growth. The simpleness of nursing, rocking, carrying my babies in a sling, washing their cloth diapers and hanging them on the line, going for walks in the park and taking baths together…I miss those things quite a lot.

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  20. I don’t miss my kids being younger so much as I miss being younger myself. Having said that, I would never trade my present for my past, because I was in for one hell of a rough ride. Thankfully, ignorance is bliss.

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  21. Now that my daughter has celebrated her 40th birthday and has a career, husband and children of her own, I miss spending as much time with her as I once did. But she is living a good life, and that makes me content. I enjoy the time we spend together, and get on with living my own life so as not to be a burden or a worry to her.

    When she was 18 and went travelling, the absence of her in my every day brought into clear focus the poor state of my relationship. It limped on for a few more years afterwards, but it never recovered from the realisation that the place I was gaining happiness was from the relationship I had with my daughter and not my other half.

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  22. I love my adult kids fiercely, and enjoy when they return home. I also like the quiet when they’re gone. And then I feel lonely and wonder when I’ll get to see them again. It’s such a paradox, this season…

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  23. I really can’t say I miss anything. And I don’t mean that in a negative way. But it’s kind of like been there, done that. Having 3 young children was physically demanding. Having 3 tweens/teens was emotionally demanding. I appreciate their stage of life now as adults and the relationship we have. It’s a lot more fun. Granted, there are times it’s difficult to witness their choices, but I no longer feel the burden of that responsibility. They have to deal with the consequences. I am here to help when I can, in whatever way I can. But it’s more of a laidback relationship. We get along great, can laugh and enjoy each other.

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  24. This is beautiful and completely relatable. That’s what I miss with my daughter…the conversations about everything and absolutely nothing. The one thing I really miss is laughing together. I noticed once she moved out, I didn’t laugh as much, so I had to find things to laugh about. 💖

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  25. I loved raising my kids but would never want to live it again. I’m like you LA, I enjoy all the stages! In my opinion, it just keeps getting better and better! I do miss the ones who live out of town but I’m proud as hell of the lives they’ve built. Hugs, C

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  26. Loved this post!
    My eldest will be twenty nine in five weeks. My baby will be twenty six this summer. I miss many things about them being younger, the way it felt easy just being together. The way we were an us.
    I love knowing them now as adults, have loved learning the newest versions of who they became along the way.
    I miss silly things. Words they mispronounced, the way their small bodies felt in my arms. Dance parties in the kitchen.
    I don’t want to relive any of it! I’m content where we are now.
    Memories are precious and sacred, but as much as I enjoy swimming around in them, I’m more interested in creating new ones!
    P.S. We’re the cheese eating-est bunch you’ve ever seen, so if you need to be with fellow cheese eaters, come hang with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheese it is!! Yeah…I love that when my daughter was little she said dvdo’s because she was the generation phasing out vcr tapes and ushering in dvds…and it’s a lovely memory, but yeah…I don’t want to go back there

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  27. When you say you miss your kids, what is it that you actually miss? Do we really miss kids as they were, or is it just a little wistful to look back at time and see how fast it really goes when you’re not paying attention?

    These are all thought provoking questions, and I think the responses may change as time passes. For instance, I hope my grands, when I have them, are as forthcoming in sharing info their parents are trying to hide from me as Lesley’s granddaughter did!

    I told my kids as they were growing up that I’d had them to take care of me in my old age, as my parents had done for theirs, and damned if it hasn’t now come to pass!!! Mainly I kept my hands off and my mouth shut as much as I could since they left home, and neither of them has returned nor does it look like they will. An example, I lived in my eldest’s basement until my new apartment became available.

    It’s been an adjustment for all of us to join together again as a family, now larger and extended to include their in-laws and future in-laws. I’m adjusting to their generally broader viewpoints, acquired mainly over the time we were apart, which usually open up my mind to other ways of looking at things. That’s a good thing because I like to keep learning and think/hope I’m never too old or set in my ways to do that. Mostly, though, what I have come to appreciate a whole lot recently, is just their hugs!! Probably comes from now being on my own and alone a lot while they continue to live their lives with their partners.

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    1. I miss being able to look them in the eye, hear their tone of voice, and know they’re really okay. Or really struggling. Or depressed. Or whatever. I miss being able to give (and receive) a big hug, or a gentle kiss on the cheek. I miss sitting and listening and laughing. Learning. I miss eating a good meal together that we’ve prepared together, watching them react and respond to the others around the table. In a word, maybe it’s the “interaction”.

      We get pieces of this via text, phone, video, and other means. But when we’re together, it’s combined into something extraordinary. I think I miss “us”. Not that we’re not still family, not that we won’t be together again. And we are still “us”, to some lesser degree, when we’re apart. But yeah. Having them all together is a unique privilege and experience. A blessing!

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