We are a family of 5 - myself, my husband and our three girls. About a year and a half ago my oldest daughter moved 12 hours away to start a life at the age of 18 almost 19. With no interest in college she went to pursue an opportunity that ended up not working out. She is resilient and full of determination and decided to stay and pursue other things but in the same area (did I mention this is 12 hours away from home?).
At first, as a mom, I felt rejected and confused. Why didn't she come home?
Now, as I see her thriving in new directions, financially independent, starting a career in retail and enjoying life all while maintaining close family ties through phone calls, text messages, social media and visits I realize - we did our job. We raised a loving, kind, responsible person.
Now, on to "Christmas with 4"...
Due to her retail career my daughter won't be home for Christmas this year. This is the first time ever in all her 20 years we have not been together at Christmas and I am sad. I will get over it, I will get used to it, I realize there will come a time when all three of my girls will have lives and families of their own. This is just my first time without all three of my girls home for Christmas, another step in this process of "time marching on" and having to let go.
It was bound to happen. As parents we raise our children to leave. Let's face it that is part of the job. When we are changing diapers, dealing with toddler tempers, cleaning up messes, driving back and forth to activities, living "everyday life" with our children, it's all leading to one thing. One day they will leave and hopefully they have learned to be kind, independent, responsible members of society. In our house we add to that list. We hope our children will be independent, kind, responsible and always want to share a part of their lives with us and each other. Our girl is living out all of this. We are so proud of her and thankful for the young woman she chooses to be and is still becoming.
So with a deep ache in my heart yet still joy to have "Christmas with 4" I say Merry Christmas to all of you who read this. May your Christmas be filled with love and peace no matter with whom or how many you are with on this holiday. If you are alone I pray you have peace and comfort and love in your heart.
I originally wrote this post in December 2016, it still pulls on my heartstrings today and believe it will forever. As a midlife mom, with two more girls growing closer to leaving the nest all these midlife mom feelings flood my soul often.
Be encouraged moms and know, as we are strong enough to let our children go and grow, as we support, encourage and give them wings. They will return home for sweet times of rest and connection. Then they will fly again. This is life. This is a sweet, good part of life.
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