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21 Things I'll Miss When My Kids Are Grown

I often find myself bemoaning the drudgery of parenting young children. The work is hard, the days are long and the promise that the years go by fast never seems to make the work or the days any easier.

Nonetheless, I know that there is much to treasure about these long, hard days as a parent of little ones.

In fact, I know that someday I'll surely miss:

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1. Carrying my children from the car to the house and feeling the surrender of their sweet, warm weight in my arms.

2. Toes that are nibble-able—not stinky, grimy or sweaty.

3. The sound of a tiny voice calling me "Mommy."

4. Seeing my entire family around the dinner table almost every night.

5. Locking eyes with my babies and feeling as if our souls have connected on the most visceral level.

6. Hugs that last more than a begrudging split second.

7. Baby-wearing—especially those little bread-dough bundles of baby, all snug and cozy against my chest.

8. Kids who actually look forward to our Friday Family Movie Night—a tradition I suspect won't last much past their middle school years.

9. Family schedules that are relatively easy to coordinate.

10. No broken hearts, no curfews and no driver's licenses.

Thinking that my babies—even the ones who are almost teenagers—look like angels when they sleep.

11. Holding my children's hands when they cross the street.

12. Snow days. (Except for the ones where I end up feeling as if we're in scene from "The Shining.")

13. Snuggly bedtimes. (Except for the ones that last for 5,268 hours.)

14. Knowing exactly where my kids are, and whom they are with, at all times.

15. Low-stakes school projects.

16. Holidays where we're all together.

17. Family vacations where we're all together.

18. Being able to check in on my kids—even the bigger kids—and make sure they're still breathing as they sleep.

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19. Thinking that my babies—even the ones who are almost teenagers—look like angels when they sleep.

20. Seeing my kids experience the sort of pure, unbridled joy that one only experiences as a child.

21. All of these long, hard, impossible, beautiful years. I might not miss every single one of the days, but I will miss all the years.

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