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My two sons. The younger one always looked up to his older brother.

I feel an incredible urge to sit and chat—to talk with my close friends and to talk to my mother. But none of that is really possible these days—especially since my mother passed away over three years ago.

I am in a rush, rush, rush to the finish line. No, it’s not the race for the prize, the eternal crown, that is referenced in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25. It is the finish line to the day my oldest child moves away from home to another state—only six more wake-ups.

Yesterday started my internal mother clock with the memories of what my son has gone through to get to this point in time. His first college graduation ceremony was last night. (He is attending a large state university where they hold separate ceremonies for your major as well as the all-school ceremony in the stadium.)

Although I wanted to be there, I made the difficult parenting decision to attend my other son’s final school band concert. It was also his 17th birthday—more memories surfaced there as well. My husband attended the graduation ceremony.

What I am struck with is how significant these events are in my life and my strong desire to have time to reflect and process them. Since there is no time, I am writing them down here in the hopes that other mothers will resonate with the pull of my heart.

Where has the time gone? How do we let go of our children? How do we parent the one left behind who is also aching over the time lost with his brother? He had just reached an age when they could relate to each other more and become friends. I have to process my own loss, and be vulnerable, yet strong, and encourage my youngest son too. This is hard to do—especially when this kind of parenting wasn’t modeled for you by your own parents.

If I droned on about how proud I am of my son, or how I wish I’d been there more often for him—the missed baseball games, chess tournaments and math competitions—or how I wished I was a more attentive mother at the early stages of his life, would you tune me out or think I’m just too sentimental?

That is the risk I take in sharing with you now—mother to mother. Maybe you have already been down this road. Or maybe it lies ahead for you. But rest assured, if you have children, you will reach a point when it is time to let go and say goodbye.

The tears will come and it will feel like a part of your heart has just been ripped out.

That quote describes what I am sensing as I write this. The day is not here yet, but sitting here chatting with you about it helps me face and express the feelings. And ultimately that was my goal—to get a chance to slow down and let my emotions surface instead of rushing through the day—to connect with myself and with you, dear Sister.

Thank you for letting me talk my way through this. I just got a text message with a request to help my son pack up his apartment at school. I’m off to the races again. I’m grateful that I can do these last things for him. I’m grateful that he asked and that he needs me just a little bit more.

Time to set aside my emotions and run.  Thanks for stopping by. Thanks for listening. It was nice to talk. I hope you’ll stop by again soon.

~ Ardis A. Nelson