I’ve been raising children for more than 28 years. Even as I write that number — 28 — it seems impossible to me. I remember BEING 28– like it was just yesterday. But yet, it’s true. Four little someones have been calling me Mom for almost three decades.

So, when I tell you that my life is changing — boy-oh-boy, it’s changing. The signs that my role as a mother is shifting is all around me. Where I used to trip over reminders that I was mother to four children, I now find myself forgetting that it wasn’t always this quiet.

It’s not the leaving that makes me sad. Not for long. Really, it’s the fact that they’re actually gone — that I’m done with my job — that bugs me. That my life changes along with theirs. I don’t think I ever thought about it quite that way.

My life changed the moment each of them were born — and it changes again, each time one of them leaves to build their own adult life. They didn’t tell us when we brought those bundles home from the hospital that we’d have to let them go one day–just when we started to like them!  🙂

Reminders of how much the landscape of my life is changing is presented to me in the strangest ways. Not in the ways one would imagine. Not when I closed the door of the dorm room, leaving my 20-year-old son on the other side, but in moments of everyday living, wandering through the now-too-big house.

And last week, that moment was with the shoes.  That’s what did me in.


With four kids, we always had a LOT of shoes. The wall of our garage was always lined with various sizes, shapes and colors…and I was always annoyed by the mess of shoes!

So when I walked into the garage the other day and saw the row of shoes, thinned out from my son’s recent departure to college… I felt a wave of sadness, both for the shoes that were now living somewhere else and because I knew the shoe thinning wasn’t over. One day, soon, the last of my children will leave, taking all his shoes with him.

I have a few more years of on-duty mothering left, and I’ve decided I’m going to stop bitching about the shoes.