When we are thick in the midst of the day to day of raising kids, it’s easy to get mired in the daily stressors and struggles and miss the joy. Raising children is not for the faint of heart and in today’s world, it seems like there are so many things out there ready to steal the joy of raising our kids.

My own parenting journey has been long and winding and at times a bit unorthodox as I found myself in the role of non-custodial mother. A role that shifted my entire view on mothering and probably made me a stronger mother as I found myself making decisions I never would have imagined, including moving to a strange state and laying down roots in that state for the sake of my son. Yet even in the most difficult years of the parenting journey that involved many tears and much legal advice, my only goal was the well-being of my son.

The bond between mother and child when healthy despite unorthodox circumstances is never broken. But there comes a point when a mother, who will forever see her kids as her babies no matter what the chronological age of the child, must step back. A mother at a certain point must step back and let her birds fly and trust that she has given her babies the tools to navigate the world and allow them to soar or fly on their own merit. There is no greater joy to a mama though when she steps back and realizes that her babies can fly and that she is merely a bystander and safe harbor. That is the place I find myself in this evening.

My son who I often refer to in this space as the college kid is in that place. He has been home for the past ten days and I am in awe of him. He will turn 21 a few short days after I turn 40 and I marvel at the young man he has become despite the many mistakes I have made along the way. I marvel at the young man he is and that he chooses freely to allow me to be a friend, confidant and yes, his mother. He tells me that he is in awe that I was already his mother when I was almost 21 yet I am in awe of how confident he is and at his ability to stand in his own truth. For the past 48 hours, my son has literally shifted roles with me and become my helper and while its been momentarily awkward, even that shifting in roles is simply part of the cycle of life.

If your babies are younger, hold em tight and savor the moments, even the challenging ones because the time passes way too damn fast. One minute, you are trying to make it through dinner and the next minute you are meeting their girlfriend on Skype and getting ready to see them off to the airport.