Years ago when I first became a mother and then eventually became a mother again 3 times more, I thought it was the hardest yet most rewarding job in the world. I loved being a mom but you know how tough 2 am feedings are and long nights of 5th grade math and being up day and night while they suffer from fever and chicken pox. The potty training and learning how to walk and making sure the house is baby proofed. Then there is remembering the tooth fairy and playing Santa Claus and wiping tears when they scrape their knee or have to go to bed with no dessert. The late night school projects are tough as are worrying about them when they drive your car on their own for the first time. Their first heartbreak is brutal as is waiting for those SAT scores.
But all of those necessary tasks and worries are nothing compared to how difficult it is when you have to say goodbye to your child as he goes to college. I have done it and thus far it has not gotten easier. I give myself these pep talks that say things like "don't forget he is getting a good education" and "he will be back before you know it". I start planning out what my next care package will be and what the birthday gift is that I will be sending him. I schedule days in my calendar that will be good to skype. I do all of that because it makes me feel a little bit better and a little less lonely while he is away.
Giving our kids roots and wings is the best thing we can do for them but watching them use those wings to fly is by far the toughest job of all.