Although I knew it was coming soon, I didn’t know today would be the day.
I’ve pushed it to the back of my mind, knowing my heart wasn’t prepared.
But maybe it never would be . . .
Because I guess a mother’s heart is never really ready to let go.
While I’ve dealt with these emotions before and it broke me . . . there’s something about the finality of the closing of a chapter in parenthood that cuts a little deeper when you watch your baby pack their belongings to move away.
You know from the moment they come into the world that one day saying goodbye will be your reality, but there’s no way to wrap your mind around how quickly it comes.
A million memories . . .
A million moments . . .
And a longing to relive them all.
Watching him load up his truck with all his belongings under that same basketball goal where I used to watch him and his friends play for hours, I can’t help but remember the echoes of their laughter and desperately wish that was the scene that was unfolding in this moment.
The noise, and the smell, of sweaty boys running in and out of the house isn’t something you really appreciate while it’s happening . . . or realize how much you’ll miss . . . until it all becomes a memory.
The piles of laundry . . .
The messes . . .
The endless supply of groceries that seemed to disappear overnight . . .
The chaos and banging around upstairs from the all-night video game sessions with their friends . . .
As much effort and energy it took to manage it all, as frustrated as you may have gotten, as challenging as it felt at times, trust me when I tell you one day when you watch them walk out that door, the aching to have the opportunity to do it all over again will set in.
It will sting . . .
It will hurt . . .
It will bring you to tears . . .
And it will leave you wishing that you could go back, knowing that you’d have a new appreciation for it all.
It’s a feeling, and a heartache that I’ll never be able to adequately explain, but what I can tell you firsthand, is that your heart is never prepared.
No matter how old they get, in your mind, they will ALWAYS be your baby. And even when they may feel like they’re ready to take on the world, all you can see when you watch them drive away to make a life on their own is that little person who came crawling into bed with you when they had a nightmare . . .
The little one who needed you to help them tie their shoes . . .
The little one who looked at you like you were the most incredible person in the world . . .
The little one, whose precious voice used to ring out “Mommy” a hundred times a day.
What I can promise you . . .
As ready as they may be . . . you never are.
And what I want to encourage for those parents who may be in the heat of it all . . .
In the midst of the chaos . . .
Feeling overwhelmed . . .
Being pulled in so many different directions . . .
Unsure if you’re equipped . . .
You’re not alone.
Life happens . . .
Time passes . . .
And one day you’ll wake up wondering where it all went.
Although I may have been guilty of it myself at times when my babies were younger, what I can tell you now . . . is one day you’ll want it all back.