It's both exciting and sad.
Our kids finally become self-sufficient, witty, clever, sweet (mostly), and fun to hang out with (as long as they have a full night's sleep) and then POOF!!
It's like spending eighteen years molding clay vases and then finally placing them gently in the kiln.
You can still paint them with advice and add flowers with life lessons, but the foundation is already formed.
Or, if you're not artsy, it's like turning in a term paper.
It can still be edited occasionally, but the whole world will have already read it, and it's mostly written in permanent ink.
"They grow up so fast" is a cliché for a reason. It's absolutely true.
They leave for college and are no longer home to reach all of the things up high for us.
It hits us when we're least expecting it - like when checking the door locks before bedtime and the house is eerily quiet.
Usually, we can hear them yelling upstairs while playing Fortnite, or we find fourteen half-full water bottles littered throughout the house.
It feels like being "laid off" from the job as a parent because you're not needed as much anymore. You still get a severance package of visits, texts and hopefully summers, but not punching the daily time clock with them is a bittersweet adjustment.
I had six miscarriages while we were trying to create a family.
Two were in the 2nd trimester, and we lost twins at five months.
Even when I fussed at the kids to clean up their mess, do their homework or to be kind to their siblings, I tried never to lose sight that all three kids were an amazing gift and not to take them for granted.
Remember the point during your toddler's terrible 2's & 3's, when you're hoping that the stain on your shirt is only mashed peas while zombie walking from their crib to your bed at 3:00 am?
I wish that Clarence the angel, or better yet, adorable Jimmy Stuart could have magically transported us into the future to experience ALL OF THE EMOTIONS during the 15-minute window in their dorm room while hugging them good-bye and then driving away.
I think the sleepless nights and sticky furniture would remind us of our "wonderful life".