Several dear friend's oldest children left for college last week. They are in mourning as I was last year. I was sad when Kevin J left a couple weeks ago, but so happy for the nice summer with him. He worked full time, gained some job skills, spent time with friends, got some driving experience and just hung out with us.
My friend, Nancy (also a mom of 8), nailed it though. She said "I want to get all my ducks in a row but the lead duck is missing." Exactly. That is how I've felt for a year. But it doesn't make sense. The lead duck is where he is supposed to be; building the foundation for his own nest. He is no longer a duckling .
My own mother (mom of 10) assures me this is normal and permanent. Our mother's hearts are so woven with our children's and we enjoy their childhoods and family life so greatly, that when we are compelled to loosen the ties (as we must) and prepare them to be tied elsewhere, our hearts will always have loose ends.
On the upside, my mother also assures me that the years of friendship with grown children, grandchildren, a more orderly house, and close times with your husband are why they are called the golden years. They are treasured times as well. I still have many years of young children at home, but now I know what people mean when they warn how fast those years will go. It is reassuring to catch a glimpse of how lovely the path ahead can be.