My wife and I are preparing for a strange new season of life...the empty nest. With our youngest son set to move off to college in a couple of days, our house will be suddenly quiet. For years we have been acquainted with the sounds of our sons and their friends in our house all evening...and often, all night. We are used to the noise!
In just a couple of nights, though, the noise will subside. Not forever. I trust they will still come home occasionally. However, once they leave for college, it is never the same. And that is ok! Life isn't supposed to stay the same.
Recently my wife and I were talking about all of these changes. Fortunately, we love each other more than ever, and our marriage is strong! We always enjoy spending time together. Our lives are not getting worse, just different.
As we talked about all that was transpiring, my mind went to a thousand different places. However, the sentence my wife spoke both thrilled me and froze me. After I mentioned my thoughts about my youngest son moving away -- incredibly excited for him and a little sad for me -- she told me what was on her heart. Ten words. Not poetic, not scripted, just from the heart.
"Being a mom was the only job I ever loved."
Wow! Since finding out she was pregnant in 1998, she has worked hard at being a mom. Every single day. We kept our marriage in first place, but every day she has organized her day around being a mom. In fact, she has been so good at it, I'm not sure I even noticed it as much as I should have.
Through these past nearly 21 years, I have had more late-night meetings at church than I could count. She never complained. Literally, not once. She just enjoyed being with our boys. Countless times I have been called away at night to visit a hospital, or visit someone near death, or any number of other emergencies. Not once did she make that difficult for me. She just cherished spending the time with our sons. Make dinner for the family? No problem. Our sons have a friend unexpectedly coming for dinner? No worries, she just made more. Two friends...three friends? It never mattered. She only served, loved, taught, and lived out Proverbs 31 every single day.
And now? Well, now it changes. It is not worse, just different. She's still a mom -- always will be. But it will not be the same. And while I feel lots of emotion too, I didn't carry our sons for nine months inside my body. I never felt them move inside my stomach. I was not kept awake at night because the growing baby kept kicking me or stretching . They didn't depend on me for life-giving nutrition as babies.
This is not to say I love my sons less than her. I love my boys as much as any dad could. I, too, have had 21 years of giving parenting all I had. But, now I understand a little more what my wife is feeling. Her words were simple but helpful: "Being a mom was the only job I ever loved!"
So, to the mom who is having a hard time because you are taking your child to Kindergarten, feel free to feel how you feel. For the mom not sure how you will make it dropping your child off to Middle School? For the mom who will be watching your senior drive off for the first day of their last year and you start "the countdown"...remember this. Regardless of your vocation, mothers, whether you run a large company, work part-time, stay home to serve your family, whatever you do...you will do nothing more significant than raising your children.
For some, the Lord's will is not to marry. For others, it may be to marry yet not to have children. But, when the Lord has chosen to bless a lady to become a mother, for her, it will be the most significant challenge, blessing, and calling she will know. I am in awe of the tireless work of a godly mom.
So mom's, pray through life's changes, cry through them, celebrate through them...there is no "right" way to feel. But, when it is all said and done, and you have done your best to train and teach your children, take time to thank the Lord for the blessing of it all.
And to my wife...you have lived the last two decades fully consumed in the job you love most. And I am grateful I have had a front-row seat to watch you do what you were called by God to do. Now, go sit in your chair, read your book, and relax. You have earned it!
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