My daughter is 12 and almost as tall as I am. Tonight, she put her head on my shoulder when she hugged me. 

I said, “This is better than when I pick up one of the little boys and he puts his head on my shoulder.”

Then I asked her to recreate the hug, so I could take a picture. 

The sweet girl agreed.

I felt like I needed a picture of how great it gets as the kids get bigger. 

I smile when I look back at my memories of her younger self, but I don’t want to go back. What I get as she grows has been so much sweeter.

She doesn’t bring me pictures home from school, but she leaves me sweet notes to tell me she loves me. 

She doesn’t mispronounce words in the cutest little way anymore, but I she impresses me when she uses new words in her vocabulary.

She doesn’t follow me all around, but she does seek me out to chat.

She doesn’t need me to kiss the scrapes on her knees, but I get to watch her nurture her little brothers when they’re hurt.

She doesn’t curl up on my lap to fall asleep, but we get to curl up on the couch and watch movies (that I actually enjoy) together. 

She doesn’t need me to guide her through her day, but I get to watch her navigate on her own. 

She doesn’t make up jokes that are so not-funny they’re funny, but we get to laugh together at jokes that are actually funny to both of us.

She doesn’t need my help to put her hair into a ponytail, but I get to watch her create her own, unique style.

She doesn’t want me to read the same princess story every night for two weeks, but she devours books about anything and everything.

So sure, I can’t pick her up anymore. But when she gives me a hug, she can still put her head on my shoulder. 

I’ll take it.

Originally published on the author’s blog

Stephanie Freybler

My name is Stephanie, and I'm a work at home mom of five kids, ages 4-13. I still have no idea what I’m doing, and I’m embracing the imperfection. You can find my blog at