All the stages of life require change to grow, but some are more painful than others. Even though the years my kids were dependent on me were insanely busy, it is what I loved to do. I knew that it was time for my daughter to move on and spread her wings when she went off to college. There was just that sense that she needed something more in her life than what we could give her by keeping her here. I was fine with it, and she was happy and excited in her new life as we drove away. Her brothers were busy in high school football, so when I would come home from school no one was there. No one really needed me anymore. There was no one to "mother". This was a huge blow that I didn't see coming for some reason. The need to be needed was something that had become so much a part of me I was lost.
It took some time and some help from others to adjust to the new life of independence, for me! Now I have to relearn it all again every year when they leave after being here in the summer. I rejoice that there will be less dirty dishes, clutter I didn't leave, and piles of laundry, but grieve because of the silence and the loss of their presence in our home. I rejoice at the exciting new things in their lives and know that this is truly living, to let them pursue their dreams, always knowing we are here for them if they need us.
This song by Ross Copperman expresses it well: Holding On and Letting Go...