Am I the only mother who feels it? The strong melancholy that ribbons every milestone, it’s present at every celebration, triumph, report card. People go on about “happy tears” but I really don’t think that’s what is going on here. It feels more like longing. The Shakespearean longing of a character who inwardly knows that something good has passed, never to return and all the hope in the universe does not guarantee a particular outcome.

My children are growing up. The end of another school year has come, my oldest has her first crush and my youngest lost his first tooth. Those firsts will never happen again. My daughter will never hand me another 9th grade report card and my son will never put his first tooth under his pillow again. Of course, I celebrate these times with them but they are so mingled with loss, and I don’t know what to do with it. I need to accept it, I think “bittersweet” is a word I understand now, now that I’m a mother of growing children. I need to accept it the way I accept gum on the sidewalks of a beautiful city. Bittersweet is knocking daily on my door. I need to accept it the way I accept mud with the rain. Melancholy rolls in like a storm while I’m photographing flowers. I need to accept it. I need to accept it.

11 comment on “Melancholy”

  1. Laura Raquel Sauri,

    Aw! I feel you! I have gone through these same emotions with my niece (I was an aunt at 15!) Watching her become a young woman has been a bittersweet and fascinating ordeal for me. Also, my children are 9 and 2, girl and boy, respectively. My daughter has started to blossom this summer and my son is quickly learning to speak more fluently and pick up a lot of what his sister says (we speak Spanish at home, so it is their and our first language). So yes, I feel you. Those moments remain a memory that I want to keep forever in a frame. Sigh! FYI, yours are adorable! โ™กโ™ก

    1. Comment author madme,

      Thank you, they are all adorable. I have a completely new appreciation for all children since I’ve had my own. I used to think boys were just smelly rowdy things. Then I had my own smelly rowdy thing that can tell when I need a hug, picks weed bouquets for me comes into my bed to snuggle every morning. I’m sold, boys are amazing.

  2. Jesska,

    My daughter is only 2 and a half and I already know what you mean. Wish they could stay cute and innocent forever :/ but at the same time it’s such an amazing feeling every time I see her do something new or learn a new song to sing. Like you said, bittersweet.

  3. Anna (Cozy Corner Crochets) Murphy,

    Very well put. I was reminded of my son’s last soccer game. We always had two or three folding chairs, and couple of umbrellas, maybe an old blanket in the back of the car for probably 13 years. I cried like crazy when I cleaned them out of the car. Well, to be truthful I had my husband take them out. That was 6 years ago, and I still feel a tug on my heartstring when I think about it.

  4. Mandy Donohue,

    I know exactly how you feel! My husband always laughs at me, but on my children’s birthdays, I always cry. Not a huge big cry, but a quick sad cry that that milestone is over and my baby is that much bigger. My kids are still young (3 1/2, 2, and 6 months), but it still happens to me. I don’t even know what I am going to do with myself when they start hitting the big milestones of school and crushes…yikes! Its good to know I am not the only one who gets a little sad during those happy moments!

  5. Monica (craftwich) Lowe,

    AH, you’re not the only one! I know exactly how you feel. I remember telling my oldest that one day he wouldn’t want hugs from his mommy anymore, that he’d be too “old” (a teen, of course) and now he’s 13, and I was right. So I make sure to hug my youngest, who’s 6, every chance I get. I’m so proud so see them grow into strong, positive, intelligent men, but wistful at the same time. Yes, the bittersweetness of motherhood!

    1. Comment author madme,

      It’s so fleeting, and it is completely mixed with joy and pride. I hug my 6 year old all the time too, the poor little guy probably thinks Mommy needs a Teddy Bear.

  6. Karen@colourinasimplelife,

    Hi Charissa; I know just what you mean… My 2 daughters are now 20 and 23 and quite recently I experienced the most extraordinary thing. I recently looked after a friends little boy who is 4 for a couple of nights; he’s a lovely little boy who is very affectionate and giving his little body a hug took me right back to doing this with my darling daughters when they were small. But what I wasn’t expecting was the longing to hug my young daughters again with the warmth, smells, interactions etc and the fact that I can’t feels a little bit like a bereavement… I actually got a bit upset; obviously I still have my daughters and I can and do hug them anytime… Maybe I need a grandchild! Make the most of your beautiful family.
    best wishes

    1. Comment author madme,

      Karen, so funny! I am hoping that by the time my youngest is too grown to be a ‘kid’ I’ll have grandbabies on the way. It’s just so hard to believe that a season so amazing, can really have an end.

Leave a Reply