I searched the Internet for a cool word or coined phrase to accurately describe this phase my life. I found a few, but nothing whose definition accurately matched mine. I had even wondered if other mothers felt this way, until I had a conversation with a friend who shared my sentiments.

As mothers, we raise our children to be strong, smart and independent. But when those things kick in, we are kicked to the side. Not in a bad way, but in a way that leaves us with a feeling of both pride and emptiness. Proud that we have done what we set out to do as parents, but empty in that our children have grown up and moved on, without us.

The call of “mom” from any child in the grocery store still warrants an immediate turn of my head; their cries still tug on my heart, as does their smiles. I see mothers holding their young child, and long for those days knowing that they pass all too quickly.

A hug, holding their hand, them running to you because mom can fix everything and the pure joy they got out of you just being present yields an indescribably euphoric state. It’s also one that cannot be understood unless you’re a mother.

As they age the relationship with your children takes on a new and different meaning, but it’s not the same. And, maybe it’s not supposed to be. We are blessed to see our children grow into to everything we worked for and wanted them to be. But, the innocence we knew and loved when they were children is a priceless commodity no longer on the market. And, it leaves a void that I am not sure can be filled.

Our children will grow up. It’s part of life’s equation. And while no one told me, I guess we as mothers, at some point, have to do the same.