The sweetest joy

Every once in awhile I imagine what it will be like to have my youngest children, my babies, all grown up, and have huge pangs of grief. I love my little kids. The feel of their hands in mine. The funny things that come out of their mouths. Their small selves climbing into bed to snuggle with me at 4 AM. The way my lips curve perfectly into the bridge of their noses as I kiss them between the eyes.

I’m not — most emphatically not– looking forward to having everyone grown and gone. But last night, in the middle of a delightfully long and utterly engrossing pinochle session with Eldest, her hubby, and my mom, I realized something. One of the greatest joys of my life right now is spending time with my grown up kids. They’re smart. They’re funny. They’re kind. They’re faith-filled. And they’re surprisingly wise for their ages.

Their grown-up bodies may not linger in my arms as long as when they were small, but their hugs are just as precious. When my house contains all my children all at once, I feel a completeness in my soul that is hard to describe. And they’ve also begun to bring home the most interesting people, one of whom of course is my son-in-law, a delightful person all on his own.

I’m getting the beginnings of a view of what it might be like to have all my children grown, busy with their own lives, and yet still finding time to trail in and out of my house to hug me and sit around my dinner table and thank me for the food and share themselves with John and me.

I so adore the feel of infants. A fuzzy head tucked under my chin.  A sweet sleeping body blissfully limp on my chest.  Eyes that smile up to me as if I am the center of the universe.  Sometimes I still get a pang for that time of life. And yet the future that is coming into view for me right now, a future filled with interesting grown-ups who I can call my own, that future looks incredibly sweet.

I am so thankful.  And so blessed.

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

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  1. Don’t forget. There will probably be a whole lot of grand babies for you to cuddle.

  2. I recently saw a rerun episode of The Duggars where they were answering fan questions. Michelle was asked what in the world would she do with herself when all her kids are grown and gone? She replied that she hopes to have a house filled with precious grandchildren!

  3. This is so true. I am an entering a second season of babyhood — After seven children in ten years, I had a 9 year hiatus and then the Lord blessed our family with yet another precious baby! I find that I LOVE spending time with my college girl when she comes home on breaks and I LOVE holding a sweet two-week old boy all warm and dependent in my arms. Blessing upon blessing!

  4. The first two posters have already said it – my guess is that there is MUCH baby-cuddling in your future. And what a blessing you’ll be to your daughters, daughters-in-law, and your grandbabies. I’ve never had a stormy relationship with my mother, but our bond deepened so significantly after my first was born. There were certain legitimate worries that I only felt safe sharing with her, who clearly loved him without any judgment at all.

  5. Hi Mary!

    I’m not sure if you remember me. I know you from homeschool skate and “mom’s night out”. 🙂 I sometimes visited those with my mom, Coleen.
    Anyway, I enjoyed your post and look forward to reading more of your blog as I get the time. My internet time is usually when I’m nursing my 5 month old little boy. :-)I also have a 3 year old boy.

  6. Okay don’t laugh, but I had a similar feeling the other night. I was out shopping with just Emma, 6. We bought fabric and strolled around the mall for fun. We missed dinner and even stayed out past bed time, but Emma never complained or whined. It dawned on me that even now, I am reaping some of what I have sown into her, and it is so rewarding. I told her today that even though I sometimes get sad about her growing up, that I am also greatly looking forward to the friendship that we will have when she is older.

  7. I know how you feel. We have seven. While my oldest is only 12, my youngest is leaving the baby stage. She’ll be two soon and I already miss the smell of a newborn baby, the new baby sounds, and the precious snuggle time. I am looking forward to the days of grandbabies galore! I just hope they’ll share! : )

  8. You’re absolutely right! There are blessings in each stage. I love the baby stage (with 4 kids in 6 years, that is pretty obvious!), but look forward to seeing my children grow into happy, bright adults! Thanks for sharing your story!

  9. Every stage has been wonderful…but I must admit, I’d take toddlers over teenagers in a minute. I miss my ‘little’ kids…mine are now 18, 15, 13 and 9.

  10. Thank you for that sweet, encouraging post. Just yesterday I was literally in tears thinking about what even 5 years will do to my children. My oldest will be eighteen. 5 years is such a short time. We are expecting our 9th little one in June and I am learning with each new addition to cherish every moment. My oldest ones were never “allowed” in our bed and now I welcome those early morning (and sometimes even middle of the night) snuggles. Thanks again for the reminder to hang on to those moments and enjoy them.

  11. Very sweet! Just imagine that when they are all grown, you’ll most likely be able to get your “baby fix” from all the beautiful granchildren you’ll have to cuddle, kiss, & spoil!

  12. Mary, I tried to reply before, but I guess it didn’t go through.

    I loved this post.

    What an encouragement to those of us who have littles that are becoming bigs.

    I often feel those bittersweet pangs with each milestone and then feel guilty and sad about it(sounds a bit neurotic, doesn’t it?).

    Now, I can look to the future and enjoy each stage. The Lord has big things planned for all of our kids and He will continue to let our children be a blessing through all of their stages.

    This is one of my favorite things about babies, too:
    “The way my lips curve perfectly into the bridge of their noses as I kiss them between the eyes.”

    Thanks for the encouragement, keep it coming!


  13. Oh, thank you for that sweet, sweet encouragement! I have loved every stage, but for some reason I still sometimes freak out about the thought that I’m not going to like the coming stages!