I miss when my kids were babies . . . I really do . . . but boy, do I love the adults they have grown into.

Each little stage meant the world to me. Two girls first, so in our house that meant a lot of Disney Princess movies, a ton of dress up clothes, not being able to leave the house without a tiara and the matching sparkly slippers. Madeline, Barbies, Bratz dolls, Mall Madness and Dream Life for hours, not to mention the American Girl dolls that are now so lovingly wrapped up and packed away to hopefully share with their girls one day.

Then my boy came. Oh, my sweet boy, Blues Clues, The Wiggles, Handy Manny, Thomas trains and Lightning McQueen, Ninjago and those figurines you built to create all kinds of crazy heroes.

Oh, those were magical days.

The oversized thinking chair, train tables, and Barbie castles filled my living room—toys everywhere, blissful madness. Slowly, Disney Junior was replaced with the Disney Channel, and before we knew it Good Luck Charlie eventually ended and that was the end of our Disney nights.

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Those moments are now replaced with all that comes along with having a 22-, 20-, and 17-year-old. Proms, driver’s licenses, college applications, acceptance letters, and graduations. Their wings are so gently stretched out, flying gracefully yet oh, so very timidly. 

Oh, how I miss those early days of bedtime stories and nighttime prayers, which have since grown into our family group chat, SnapChat and FaceTime calls.

But . . . I have to admit I absolutely love this stage just as much.

It’s different, don’t get me wrong, and I do become quite nostalgic for the innocent early years when everyone was tucked in all under the same roof—this mama never sleeps as well as she does when everyone is home at the same time. But watching your children grow into young adults who make you beam with pride is quite beautiful, too. 

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The laughter from Good Luck Charlie soon became replaced with the bleeping of Gordon Ramsey. Radio Disney eventually phased out to be replaced by music I just don’t get nor do I want to. 

They are not perfect don’t get me wrong.

My 17-year-old son recently drove right past the garbage cans and proclaimed not to have seen them when questioned about why he didn’t bring them in—which led to a 10-minute lecture about needing to be observant when he is behind the wheel. Cue the eye rolls. At any given time, there are backpacks, books, laptops, cellphones, chargers, AirPods, and car keys thrown about the kitchen the way the Polly Pockets and Mario figurines were back in the day. But this chaos is my calm.

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Someone recently told me I spend too much time with my kids. At first I thought, why in the world would someone say that? How can we spend too much time with our kids? But then I realized: yes, I do. I do spend as much time with my kids as they want, and that is perfect with me. You see, these kids grew up to be pretty amazing young adults and I simply enjoy being in their company and am thankful they still enjoy being in mine. 

So, while I long for days that have past, I embrace the days that are here.

The trips to Justice, BounceU, and Toys “R” Us have now been replaced with yoga dates, Starbucks runs, and Chipotle, meeting for lunch on work breaks, and visits to the house our college girl shares with her five roommates . . . and I love every minute of it.

I may never get their childhood back but these memories we’re making on our quick dates together are pretty amazing, too. So, since we only get them for a small while, I will be there anytime they want to meet at Chick-fil-A because before we even realize they’re doing it, they’ll use those wings that have been nurtured and loved and confidently fly on their own.

Previously published on the author’s Facebook page

Jennifer Marcinczyk

My name is Jennifer Marcinczyk, and I am a SAHM to a 22, 20, and 17-year-old. I choose to continue to stay home so I can be available whenever needed or simply for a last-minute lunch date when one of the kids are home. Being a mom is my job, but it's more than that; it's my heart's calling.