I get it now, Mama.

The sad face you wrote on your menu plan for the day we all left. The day your kids got back in their cars and drove further and further from you to their homes they no longer share with you or each other.

I get it now, Mama.

When your oldest asked if you wrote that sad face and you answered with a shy little smile, “I didn’t think anyone would see it.”                                                                               

The little sad facemeant just for you and your Mama heart.

I get it now, Mama.

Your excited welcome at the familiar front door as we all piled in after days in the car and months apart. The toy boxes ready and sheets all laid out.

I get it now, Mama.

Your lack of complaint as the babies woke the house in the middle of the night. Your willingness to rise early with excited wee ones so your daughter could rest.

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I get it now, Mama.

The trips to the park and the favorite foods. Your fridge stocked as full as the rooms in the house.

I get it now, Mama.

I get why you wrote that little sad face at the end of the trip.

Your babies were all home. Under your roof once againlaughing and joking like days long gone.

And then they all left.

Now that I have babes of my ownI get it now, Mama.

The sadness that must bring, to see your babies buckle their babies in car seats and drive far, far away.

I get it now, Mama.

And someday, if my babies are grown and live 1,000 miles away, I know I will prep and plan for their visit to make it the best of the year.

Then when they all leave, I’ll write a little sad face as my heart twinges inside, no matter how proud I am of the lives they all lead.

Because once you’re a mama, your heart is no longer your own. A piece goes with each baby no matter how far they go.

So, I get it now, Mama.

The little sad face.

But don’t worry, Mama.

I’ll always come back. To your house that was my home.

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Because that piece of your heart that lives within mine?

It’s a tether of souls that continues to grow. And as I get older and my own babies grow, my understanding of your love for me as my mama deepens and expands.

I get it now, Mama.

The love so great and so pure it makes you write a little sad face when your babies are all gone.

Oh, Mama, I get it now.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

Kiley Hillner

Kiley Hillner lives in Texas with her husband and two beautiful daughters. She works full time and recently graduated with her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is loving life and embracing the chaotic beauty of motherhood. You can find more of her thoughts on this parenting gig on her blog and on Facebook.