Edie Falco on kids growing up: ‘when those little kids disappear – it’s like a death’

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About a month ago, I was driving my kids to school when my older son suddenly asked me, “Mommy, how do you feel about your little baby turning 10-years-old this year?” I was a little bit taken aback by the randomness of the question, so I gave some generic response about how he’s always going to be my little baby no matter how old he gets. It hadn’t really registered with me yet that he was entering that “double digits” era, so I hadn’t really thought to mourn that leaving behind those single digit years means he’d be embracing more of his autonomy and independence.

Edie Falco’s kids are a bit older than mine are. She has a 19-year-old son named Anderson and a 16-year-old daughter named Macy. Edie is the guest on this week’s episode of Christina Applegate and Jamie-Lynn Sigler’s podcast, MeSsy. During her appearance, they started talking about how quickly time really does fly once you become a parent, and Edie shared how much she misses when her kids were little.

“Nobody talks about when those little kids disappear – it’s like a death,” says Falco, 60, whose son, Anderson, is 19 and whose daughter, Macy, is 16.

Falco swaps parenting stories and more alongside her Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn Sigler, on the second episode of MeSsy, Sigler’s new podcast with Christina Applegate, PEOPLE has an exclusive preview of the podcast episode before it comes out March 26.

Sigler, 42, whose two boys Jack and Beau are 5 and 10, is still navigating the younger years, but she says on the podcast that she’s “holding on to all the little baby things” like the fact that her son Jack has just lost his first teeth and that his hand “still doesn’t have knuckles.”

Adds Applegate, whose daughter Sadie is 13, “To know we’re not going to get that back freaks me out.'”

Falco says she treasures memories of those early days. “Early parenting stuff is madness but it’s some of the most divine, precious hours of my life,” the Nurse Jackie star says on the podcast. “When they both fall asleep on you when you’re watching TV and it’s quiet and you realize, ‘Oh my God I didn’t know I could feel this love.’ And then they’re just gone forever and ever, and they’re just memories and are all over your iPhone!”

Applegate, who’s admitted that living with multiple sclerosis has changed how she can parent, jokes that she wants to keep her daughter as close as possible, as long as possible: “I told Sadie when she goes to college, wherever it is, I’ll be moving in with her. I highly encourage Los Angeles-based universities. I’m like, ‘Why would you live in a dorm when we have our nice house?’ I’m doing everything I can to make her stay here.”

[From People]

I understand what Edie means. It is sad when you realize your kids have grown out of their previous stage and that era is over. I try not to let myself get into that headspace, though. I hadn’t thought about my kid turning 10 this year because that means we’re practically a year away from –ugh– middle school, which basically means he’s practically a high schooler and just about ready to leave for college, which means…you get the point, lol. You know the saying, “Getting old is a blessing?” Well, I try to look at my kids getting older and seeing them through new phases and stages of life as a blessing as well. I guess to use Edie’s own terminology, if the little kid stage ending is like a death, then seeing each new milestone as they grow into their own little people is like starting a new life.

Oh, and that conversation in which my older son asked me how I felt about him turning 10 this year? It finished with him saying this: “When I’m 10, that means I’m going to have to get my next rust [tetanus] shot. I don’t want to get a shot, but I know it’ll be best for my health, so I’ll do it without crying.” Being old enough to march into the pediatrician’s office while knowing about and being okay with having to get a shot? There are definitely some perks to the “little kid” phase disappearing.



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Photos credit: Hector Vallenilla, PacificCoastNews.com / Avalon, Robin Platzer/Twin Images / Twin Images / Avalon and Getty

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30 Responses to “Edie Falco on kids growing up: ‘when those little kids disappear – it’s like a death’”

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  1. Jas says:

    Aww bless to your brave 10 year old.
    Parenting does such strange things to your sense of time. I have a 16 year old – she’ll be finished with high school at the end of next year, which feels very weird. I very much miss the preschool years, with all their intensity and wide eyed wonder and experimentation. But each age brings its own new joys. My teenage daughter is giggly and lively and full of brilliant ideas. I love spending time with her.

  2. bisynaptic says:

    @Rosie, please squeeze your little pumpkin. He’s adorable. ❤️

  3. Mcmmom says:

    I very much feel this. My eldest just turned 22 and I feel like I’m flooded with images of him as a little guy whenever I stretch to kiss him on the cheek. I adore my teenage/young adult children, but I miss their little selves more than I thought possible.

    • Mimi says:

      I miss my little guy. I was so sad when his little hands disappeared into teenaged man hands. LOL

    • TRex says:

      @Mcmmom – I feel this comment in my cells. I also have a 22-year-old – and he’s a singleton. There’s not a day that goes by where I wish I we had given him a sibling. I was given a book when he was little to read to him called “Someday” (by Alison McGhee) The first time I read it to him, I ugly cried. When we packed his things to move into Halls, I kept that book back in a bin of his things I will forever keep.

  4. Surly Gale says:

    Mine just turned 40 OMG that means I’m … 70 ??!!! ??? It’s unbelievable!
    I miss my boy too. OTOH, the man he grew into just tore down an old shed with the promise to rebuild it over the summer so who am I to be anything but grateful?!?

  5. Aud says:

    This is something I have tried to explain to friends with young children. My sons are in their late teens and early twenties and bear little resemblance to the little boys they once were. When they were young it was incomprehensible that the individuals that they were then were temporary. I’ve described it as almost like having a pet. They’re adorable and frustrating and unique. But they’re fleeting and will never be seen again once they’re gone.

    • B says:

      I tried to explain that once to a new dad, as the reason to put the phone down when he was home.
      It did not sink in at all. I guess Google is his primary relationship?

      Also, yes to being sad it’s gone, but I have every intention of being on good terms with whoever they marry, so that I can be around to help with the next generation ;).

  6. sparrow says:

    I am really struggling with this at the moment! Kids are getting older and I feel as though I’ve lost some of my purpose. I loved their toddler ship onwards and would do it all again. Need to rebuild my identity.

  7. ShazBot says:

    Mourning my each stage of your kids once they are gone is something nobody warns you about. I’m grateful I had kids in the iPhone era so I have a million videos and photos to watch and remember them, but yeah, it’s sad knowing those little voices and little hands are gone.

  8. JanetDR says:

    I mourn my children’s younger years on a daily basis. It is such an intense time but I loved it so much (except lack of sleep). Cuddling together, reading to them, lullabies, my eyes are leaking just thinking about it. 💗

    • sparrow says:

      I’m with you, JanetDR. I feel it so intensely – I can start crying just thinking of holding their hands and how excited they were to walk along with me and look at the world. I actively have to stop thinking about it. It’s a struggle. My partner is not feeling this at all. I need to regain a sense of identity; be glad that it happened not sad that it stopped. I also have to gain traction with where they are now. I feel left behind by it all, to a degree. As the saying goes – little ones want you more but need you less; older ones want you less but need you more.

  9. TigerMcQueen says:

    I have two kids who are now teens. They’re 15 months apart (didn’t plan it that way ahahaha), which meant those years weren’t even spaced apart for me. So at the same time in late elementary school, they decided they were too old for the playground anymore, and I was shocked at how sad that made me. I think about those years all the time. The good news is that my youngest likes coffee from time to time, so sometimes I’m at my desk working and I hear “Mom, I’m making coffee if you want some,” it’s wonderful.

    • Sass says:

      Ours are less than a year apart (that’s why there’s only two of them 🤣🫠😵‍💫😭) and I feel this so hard! The other day we asked if they still wanted to do an egg hunt and this was the first year they were like “nahhhh”. But it’s still wonderful to watch them grow and become more themselves.

  10. Erin says:

    This is literally the perfect way to put it and comes only a few days after my husband and I randomly started watching older videos of when our older kids were toddler and I was crying. We were like, did we know they were this cute then?? We did right? We had to have omg. I wanted to run upstairs and wake them up just to hold them. Just the thought of not ever seeing those little chubby faces again, ugh it definitely feels like a death.

  11. Sass says:

    Mine are 14 and 15 now and I know what she means. It sort of just slaps you in the face one day and keeps whacking you over the head every now and then. My son is taller than me now and his voice is so deep.

    It’s hard not to be sad. I find myself wishing I was a more patient, happier mom when they were little, but I dealt with a lot of mental health stuff and no support system. I wanted to do better. I’m just grateful they seem to want to spend time with us. More and more the reality that they’re going to be gone in like 4 years really freaks me out. I’ve never been a mom who makes that my entire personality so I have hobbies and friends and a great marriage and I travel by myself etc. but the idea of them no longer being here with me and part of the everyday just grips me in a way that makes it hard to breathe.

    • sparrow says:

      I goes so quickly and whoosh they’re teenagers/young adults. I was lucky to stay at home with them for years, and it was an intense, beautiful time. The luck has run out, though, because I now find myself with a lost career and a degree of missing financial security (personal, independent of my partner’s). I need to look forwards. I feel adrift. I work but I can’t get back to where I was. I’m happy I stayed at home but I know this has impacted me in ways I didn’t quite anticipate – one of them being a sense of independence from my partner, which is really stifling me.

  12. Old and tired says:

    Um, what she’s talking about is NOSTALGIA, not grief. I lost a 17-year-old to cancer and trust me on this one. I enjoy recalling her baby/toddler/funny little face stages because it’s so much less painful than thinking about her cancer battle. They’re SUPPOSED to grow out of those sweet ages. It’s a privilege to watch it, not a loss.

    • Rosie says:

      I’m so, so sorry for your loss, @Old and tired.

    • sparrow says:

      I am so sorry to read this Old and tired.

    • DeltaJuliet says:

      I’m so very sorry you lost your daughter. No parent should have to experience that. But Edie is allowed to feel her feelings too. It doesn’t diminish or minimize your loss in any way.

      • Sarah says:

        Old and tired, I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss as well, and I have to disagree with DeltaJuliet—while of course Edie is allowed to feel her feelings, we are all responsible for how we express those feelings. I cringed when I saw this headline, because of course anyone who has experienced an actual child loss knows that a child growing up is NOT like a death. Those versions of her child may have disappeared, but it is because they evolved into a person she still gets to have. Even if she does feel grief about this, she should have worded it more sensitively.

    • JanetDR says:

      So sorry @Old and Tired.

  13. ME says:

    No Kids but have a niece I was very close to when she was a child. She’s now a teen and a completely different person. I don’t really see her anymore unless I check up on her on Social Media. I miss that little girl…so cute and loved spending time with me. I took her everywhere. It’s sad that girl is gone, but hey kids grow up one day don’t they? It’s not their fault.

  14. Bobbi says:

    But aren’t you glad as a parent that you get your life back to yourself once they go off to college?
    Your time is your own again, except for work.

  15. Skyblacker says:

    Have multiple kids and space them apart and you can delay that point by a good decade.

  16. Savu says:

    A former work acquaintance of mine just had her 1.5-year-old son die in his sleep. Full autopsy and tests done, they couldn’t find any reason for his death, he’s considered a victim of SUDS. It’s awful.

    She posted the other day that people always say they don’t want their kids to grow up, and she’d give anything to watch her son mature and age.

    My son is only about 1.5 now as well, and I already miss the baby days. I didn’t expect there to be so much mourning as they grow. However, I keep trying to remind myself it’s the circle of life, and what a privilege to see him get older. I still miss earlier phases, but just try to be a little more present.

    • kiks says:

      My two-year-old almost died twice before he was a year old, due to an undiagnosed primary immunodeficiency. He had meningitis at eight months old. The scariest days and nights of my life. Every time I look at him and lament how quickly he’s growing and changing, I remind myself how close we came to him not being here at all. I feel so grateful for every smile, every hug, every time he uses his giant head as a weapon…well ok, I almost always feel grateful.

  17. Abbie says:

    Ugh, I hate it when parents do this, what a dumb thing to say. How is your child growing up like a “death”?? Really??? Bit disrespectful to people who have actually lost their children.
    Also, put yourself in the kids’ shoes – do you want YOUR parents to still refer to you as a mindless child who needs to be handled and supervised by their parents? Do you like the idea of parents forever treating you like a baby and never allowing you independence and freedom, just because to them “you will always be their baby goo goo”.
    Come on, seriously. We all couldn’t wait to become independent adults, please don’t disrespect your child by not treating them like an individual as well. Children are unique individual humans with all the rights to self-determination and independence, wish people treated them more as such.