I live a couple of thousand miles away from my family. The way life has played out, my husband and I settled our family closer to my his roots than my own. Even though I can see lots of signs along the way that show me that I am where I’m supposed to be, a part of my heart will always be back home – with my mom. And I will always miss not having her close by.

I miss the help she would have so gladly offered when my kids were babies and I could have desperately used a hand, a hug, and a break.

I miss the warmth that radiates from her and warms my soul. There is no Chicken Soup for the Soul that can come close to competing with a mother’s love – and her tight hugs.

I miss her cooking, my childhood favorite cookies and traditional eats. I miss the chance that we haven’t had to cook alongside each other, and to talk and laugh while measuring flour, chopping apples, and arguing over how much seasoning to add.

I miss her advice, which even though I still get sometimes through phone calls and emails, is not as frequent or as intimate as it would be if we lived closer.

I miss sharing the little milestones and joys and struggles of motherhood with her. She knows all the big ones of course – the end-of-season performances and birthdays and awards – but misses the little ones. The soccer game where my daughter “accidentally” pushed the ball into the goal and made her only goal of the season, our babies’ first words, the best 1st-grade art projects, the little speech my oldest gave at her band concert, the new haircut. All the little pieces of life that in themselves don’t amount to much, but build a complete picture of life over the years. All the little things she would have found so much joy in, but missed.

I miss not being able to be there for her as much, too. When she fell and broke her wrist a few years back, I wish I would have been able to bring her meals and clean her house, instead of just sending a stranger to help out a couple of times a month. I wish I could be around to offer more emotional and physical support as she ages. Even though we talk every week, and visit once or twice a year, there’s so much that we miss – on both ends.

If you have a mom around, don’t take her for granted. If there is a rift between the two of you that could use some mending, mend it while there is time. Neither of you are replaceable for each other. Sometimes I look at my kids and am amazed at the thought that my mom once loved me as much as I love my own kids now. There will never be a replacement for the mother-daughter bond, and the woman who is  the most influential person in my life.

Zrinka Peters

Zrinka lives on 35 acres in MN with her husband, six kids and an ever-changing number of furry and feathered creatures. She loves book clubs, flowerbeds, and successful gluten-free baking. One of her greatest hopes is to lead her children to love deeply. She sometimes catches a few minutes to write in between snacks, laundry, and kid catastrophes. She hopes to make her little corner of the world a better place one word at a time.