The Hardest Job

I was watching a movie this week, one of the characters said “It’s the hardest job you will ever do.” He was talking to the mother of his child, encouraging her in one of those rough times
most parents go through. It’s easy to think that when you have nothing to compare it too. As I sat in the silence of my home, tears came to my eyes. “No dear,” I thought, “Letting them go is harder.”

It’s been 12 years since my first child left home. In the moment, I was excited about the idea
of no children in the home. She came back a few months later after a car accident. When she moved out after recovering, it was the last time she would
live under my roof. She was close and visited often, and with two kids still in the home, the transition went okay.

For the next 4 years, I was on a count down to being an empty nester. I didn’t realize how it
would impact me when it actually happened.

My son had joined the National Guard during high school. He was gone the summer of his
junior year to basic training. Then off to AIT after graduation. After AIT, he moved across the country. My heart knew it would happen when I met my now daughter-in-love. The initial move was okay, it was like he was gone to training.

Then the holidays came, that year took its toll on me. I experienced emotions that had me questioning everything. I stopped my countdown, realizing it would be harder than I thought. Thank God for a spiritual mother that normalized what I was experiencing.

I received a surprise when my son showed up on my doorstep. We were talking on the phone and it completely took me by surprise; something that is not easy to do. It was the medicine this mother’s heart needed.

My youngest worked a lot, so I had some time to get used to not having children around. But ai chose not to do that, I occupied time with my neices, nephews and then grandchildren. It did make the final transition a
little easier, but not pain free.

I recognize letting them go, was the hardest job as a parent. I now have influence, but not control. I still get concerned when they are traveling or facing their own trials. I don’t have regular Sunday dinners or even every holiday with them.
I miss birthdays and holidays and each time the toughness of the job of being a parent of children who are on their own is reinforced.

Not having control over the location they live and how often they can visit, is reinforced by
needing to use my vacation time to go visit them. The years go by and schedules continue to get
busier. The grandkids grow in pictures and the distance feels to grow.

So no dear, the toughest
job is not parenting a toddler but letting go as your children reach adulthood. Letting
them go where life calls them. Trusting God with their well-being and future, and knowing they will always be your children, but letting go, knowing it is the hardest job you will ever have.

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