You both turn a year older next week. I’ll soon have 8 and 13-year-old boys.

I’m not ready.

I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster this week, due to the simple fact that, I’m not ready. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all poised to tackle the tween and teen years coming. The moodiness, the eye rolls, the “oh my GOD you are so dumb” mutterings and the smell. I’m not saying it will be easy, but I am as prepared as I can be for it. But I’m not ready to say goodbye.

There are so many goodbyes that I’ve relived this week. Goodbye to the thumb sucking and hair twirling that signaled Big Boys tiredness. Goodbye to the “long blinks” that Little Boy used to take, almost every-single-time we got into a car. Goodbye to lazy mornings in bed cuddling, while sleep still held on and you smelled like joy. Goodbye to trips to the park, which would light up both of your faces like Disneyland. The laughter that would come from the swings, the slide and the life you were experiencing. Goodbye to curling up on the couch and watching a (probably horrible) kids cartoon or movie, over, and over, and over again. Goodbye to singing you to sleep at night, us curled into one.

Goodbye to my babies.

Being a mother is the hardest thing I have ever done (I think we’d all agree even if not that hardest, it’s still up there on the scale) and I don’t always enjoy it these days. There are days when the fights are too loud, homework is missing, dinner is being scoffed at and I am so tired I can hardly stand, that I want to run away. I want to say my own goodbye and drive. And I complain a lot, about my fears for your futures, my frustrations at your current actions and my insecurities about how I am handling the whole “mother” job. Even though all of this is true, even though I feel out of control and overwhelmed more days than not, even though this is hard, I still don’t want to say goodbye. I’m not ready.

Every single thing I read, person with grown kids that I talk to or scenes from sappy movies, all say to “Cherish this time. It goes by so fast.” I’ve rolled my eyes and wanted to scream, “It’s not fast enough!” Then I find myself sitting here, on April 7, 2016, realizing my babies are going to be 8 and 13 next week and holy sh*t, it really does go by fast. I’m looking at you both and wanting to grab on; to Little Boys still slightly chubby cheeks and Big Boys skinny, gangly arms and hold on for dear life. “Stop!” I want to yell, “Stop growing. Stop leaving me!”

I know it’s not about me, I know this is how things are, I know tomorrow I will wake and you both will be fighting and tattling and I will once again be overwhelmed. I want to rewind so I can go back and right my wrongs, hug instead of yelling, laughs at the spilled milk (and juice, and ice cream and and and). But obviously, that’s not how life works. And while I would love to say I will take this feeling into the weekend, into next week and this whole year and be the perfect mother, I won’t. I will fail. Sometimes daily, other times maybe only once a week, but I will fail.

So I have right now, right this minute to imprint this feeling into my being, this feeling of having to let go while still holding on frantically. These feelings of regret, sadness, love and joy, all wrapped around one another so tightly, I couldn’t separate them if I tried.

On the eve of you both getting one year older, one year further away from being my babies, I want you to know this – you’re loved. Everything I’ve done in this world since the moment you both came into it, has been done with you in mind. There will never be a day again in my life, where I don’t think of you, where I don’t worry about you and where I don’t want to be able to deliver you all the joy in the world on a platter.

There will never be a day where I’m ready.