“There is a universal mom ache that comes every time we say goodbye.
It starts when our babies take their first toddling and tentative steps away from us. That initial ache comes unbidden as we grasp a glimpse of all the future steps they will take away from us, all the goodbyes to come.
The goodbye of walking onto a school bus or into a classroom for the very first time. Tiny hands turn and wave. The ache rears and settles.
The goodbye of a first sleepover or summer camp. They are not ‘right in the next room,’ safe under the cover of our home. The ache rears quietly and settles quickly.
The goodbye of their very independent, ‘I’ve got this,’ preteen self. This one smacks loud and jolts abruptly. The ache rears ferociously and settles slowly.
The goodbye of a challenging teen mishap. Their childhood innocence door slams shut. The ache rears dragging fear along with it and settles in fits and starts.
The goodbye of backing out of the driveway moments after receiving freedom in the shape of a gift from the DMV. The ache rears with memories of a toddler in her car seat and settles with some much-needed freedom from late-night, seemingly endless pickups.
The goodbye of a graduation cap and a college dorm room. Stopping here for a moment. This ache rears and settles, rears and settles, rears and settles every time they come home and leave, come home and leave, come home and leave.
The goodbye of moving out and moving on. The goodbye that speaks to adulthood, active parenting job done, ‘Will they make it on their own? This ache rears fresh and raw.
There are more goodbyes. The goodbyes of weddings and births of grandchildren. Every time, the steps are further and further away. Every time, the ache rears and rears and rears. Every time, the ache settles and settles and settles.
With each goodbye comes a settling hello. A settling hello that brings newness, possibility, and life.
But in each goodbye, we sit in the real, raw ache, not rushing the pride we feel, the pain we feel, the thankfulness we feel, the joy we feel, and the awfulness we feel. It’s beautiful. It’s sacred. It’s momentous.
The settling hello comes soon enough.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Esther Goetz. You can follow her journey on Facebook and her website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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