My kids are testing their wings. Again.

My daughter, her husband, and their baby (my first grandchild) are heading to Wisconsin. He just got a great job offer there and is planning on buying a home and to enjoy NOT being in school.

About an hour before I found out about their job offer, my other daughter told me she had applied (and has since been accepted) to teach English to kids in Africa for a semester. Suddenly I was hit with a whirlwind of emotion. Both my girls were leaving to experience what life had in store for them. They were going to have an amazing adventures. Not only have they grown wings, they are going to test them out!

Just when I think that my heart is settled and can manage this independent phase of my adult kids’ life, I realize there is more growth to be had. And it hurts.

The dynamics of my family have been that my kids have had to grow up independent. Large families can be like that. The more kids I had, the more they had to learn to do on their own. I have also had some health issues that prevented me at times from being as the type of hands on Mom that I thought I wanted to be. I can see now that it was a blessing in disguise.

Kids growing wings is a difficult yet rewarding thing to watch. I’ve seen them learn how to do so many things on their own. It’s beautiful to see them become independent and strong and capable. I have felt so much gratitude that they can do so much!

My husband and I have felt that our kids would be strong examples to a lot of people and that God would need them in other places besides home. I guess I was kind of just hoping their nests wouldn’t be too far from home…

I want to follow God’s will in everything and I want my kids to do the same thing. But by doing so, I experience heartache and the pain of a mom’s aching heart.

When my heart aches, tears sometimes leak a little from my eyes. (Okay, sometimes those tears may do more than just leak.)

The ache of my mom heart also brings me to my knees. I find myself pleading with the Savior for healing and peace through the atonement. In humility I ask my Heavenly Father to help me be strong while I allow my kids to experience their own life and have their own experiences.

I can only handle these experiences through the love and strength of my Savior and His atonement.

I really am so grateful that they get to have these opportunities. How amazing! I am thrilled for them in so many ways!

When my oldest son left to serve his 2-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I remember laying by my bed and sobbing, praying for peace and comfort. As I dropped of my oldest daughter to college, my heart ached so much and I cried for a lot of the 4 hour drive home. Saying goodbye to my next daughter as she went to college wasn’t any easier and brought the same stream of tears and heartache.

When my daughter takes my grandbaby and heads out east, I expect the same emotions. My daughter and her husband and my grandson, my cute little grandson, won’t be around as much as I’d like.

However, I have experienced the peace and comfort that only the Savior can offer. I’ve found in the moments that I thought my heart would break, my Savior has provided me enough strength and comfort to be okay.

It is a blessing for my heart to feel these emotions. It means that I love my children. I love spending time with them. I love having my family together. I love listening to them laugh. I love their stories.

I learn empathy for those who also walk similar paths. I can relate to and give someone a sincere hug and encouragement when their hearts are aching.

I treasure the time that we do have together as a family so much more.

I get to experience, through my kids, what life is like in so many different places with different languages and different cultures.

I get to watch my kids grow up and be their own wonderful adult human beings.

The blessings will far outweigh the heartache. That’s the promise we’ve been given. And I know that God will be aware of my kids, their families, and their adventures.

And through the tears and heartache, the excitement and fun – let the adventures begin!