I’m worried that I won’t remember. Peter leaves for LA in 2 and a half weeks and I’m worried I won’t remember all of the little things about having him as my son. I have an absolutely terrible memory, always have. It has its good points. I rarely hold a grudge because I generally don’t remember what heinous wrong was perpetrated in the first place. I don’t stress about getting things done, about lists of endless chores, because I find it impossible to carry it all around with me, all the time. I do things as I remember to do them, sometimes a little bit late, and guess what? Hardly any horrible consequences have occurred as a result! …but not my baby boy…I don’t want to forget a single thing about the past 18 years that I’ve gotten to be his Mom…every single day… 

The worst part is how endless so many of these precious days seemed at the time. Running after 4 kids and trying to keep hold of who I was amidst the 4 emerging personalities that were quite literally on top of me each and every day. I have been the center of their worlds. What an unbelievably exhausting role…and what an unappreciable privilege. It’s really too bad that no matter how many people told me, I was incapable of seeing how one day it would be over.

I have 4 more years until Jake & Luke will head off into the world and just one year later, Hannah will pack up the car and head off on her next great adventure. The confusing part is that this is 100%, exactly what is supposed to happen. This is the goal, and I will thank the good Lord every day if and when each of them make it to this moment. This is also the moment that all those years of selfless parenting turns inward and I become selfish and unbearably sad that the most difficult, exhausting, often thankless job I have, and will ever have, is over. Because in addition to difficult, exhausting, and thankless, this job is rewarding, joyful, oftentimes hilarious, and most of all, it fully encompasses my identity. Peter, Jake, Luke, and Hannah’s Mom is who I am, and I like it that way. I remember the first time someone referred to me as Peter’s Mom instead of Mindy. It was the strangest feeling. I was immediately aware of the shift taking place, and I loved it. 

I’m aware that there are those who are terribly conscious of retaining a piece of themselves only for them, to preserve their identity, in many instances to avoid this very moment. No one who knows me would accuse me of being all about my kids. I love my husband, I have solid, wonderful friendships, and I’ve rarely passed up the opportunity for a quick massage, a few days away with my cousins, or a happy hour with friends. Some call it balance. Yes, I think I have a certain amount of balance. …but now I lay awake in bed at night in a panic…that it’s all going to be over…and I missed it. Of course I love our kids, but I also really like them. They’re the people I’d choose to be with if I were stranded on a desert island. It’s one of the greatest parts of raising kids that I’d never thought of. These kids have all of Pete’s and my best qualities, also some of our worst. They’re familiar to me in a way no one else ever will be.

I detest change. I’m fully aware that my job description includes letting go, and I’ve talked a big game. You have to let your kids go and explore the world. You have to let them make mistakes and take risks. You have to let them make their lives outside of you. I know this. I just didn’t know how much it would hurt. I didn’t know how much I’d given each of them of myself and how hard it would be to let those pieces walk out the door. I’m fully aware that my job will never be over, that my kids will always be my kids. I’m fully aware that I’ll hopefully be a Grandma one day and the joy of watching my kids raise their kids will be overwhelming. I’m so excited to see who they become. I know we’ve done the best we can for them.

But for now, as I pack for Peter, my first baby, who’s been my right hand since the first moment he held onto mine, I just want to remember. I want to remember every single minute.

*This article was originally published on Facebook

Mindy Humphrey

My name is Mindy Humphrey. I'm the mom of 4 kids, Peter 18, Jake & Luke 15, and Hannah 13. My husband Pete and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this October.