I was lucky enough to have all four of my kids home for the weekend. This might not seem like a big deal to some, but when you have three kids in college it is a huge treat to have everyone home at the same time.
I’m not gonna lie…I was so excited to see my guys. I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning as I waited for each of them to arrive home.
And as I was standing there, peering out the window, waiting for the first glimpse of one of their cars to come around the corner, it dawned on me that I had 18 years with my children living in my home and I never felt this giddy before about them being here together.
I had completely taken that time for granted.
Time has a funny way of playing tricks on parents. When we are in the thick of motherhood we feel like our kids will be little forever. We are always running on empty, going a mile a minute — taking care of our children and tending to the house. We are just trying to survive — doing our best to make it through another day. Our kids are always together…fighting in the hallways, giggling on the couch, making a mess through dinner, running around and needing our attention. We grow so used to having them there that it is hard to imagine the day when they aren’t.
But then one day you wake up and your kids are gone. They may be off to college or have joined the military or got their 1st apartment. Their rooms sit empty. Their beds always made. No toys on the floor. No giggles echoing through the halls. No fights to break up. Their chairs are bare at dinner time. The laundry baskets are empty and the kitchen is clean.
Their absence is everywhere. The silence is deafening. The heartache is real.
And you wonder how the heck that happened? Because 18 years is a long time, right? How could it be over already?
And it hurts. You spend your whole life preparing your children to leave home — as they should. But no one prepared you for what it would feel like when that day came. You never thought it would come so quickly. You always thought you would have more time, another day, one more chance. But time sneaks up on you when you aren’t looking.
My driveway filled up with cars and I watched as my grown children came through the door, filling my entryway as they hugged and greeted each other. I stood back and soaked it in…my children, home together. My heart was happy.
And I realized that what was once an everyday occurrence has now become a treasured gift. A rare treat. A priceless moment. One that I will never take for granted again. I know I can’t enjoy every moment, but I hope I always appreciate the ones I have. Because they surely don’t last forever.
This is our new normal…this visiting and leaving. But as much as I hate the leaving, the visiting is pretty fantastic. It gives me a deep appreciation for this family time with such a grateful heart. And it makes this time together all the sweeter.
I smiled at the sight of my children…laughing and teasing one another as they kicked off their shoes and dropped their bags. Then they all came to give me a big hug. My children are what makes this house a home — filling it with warmth and laughter and love. And I know this is what we will one day refer to as the “good old days.” The days I’ll never forget and always look forward to…these days when we are all together. Home. Under the same roof. For that is what I miss most of all.
**See more from Heather Duckworth on her Facebook page: Love, Faith & Chaos.