August 22, 1992, I walked down an aisle to marry the man that I love.
Today, August 22, 2016, exactly 24 years later, I watched another man that I love walk down another aisle--an airport corridor, actually, to head back to the States to begin his second year at Liberty University.
Today, August 22, 2016, exactly 24 years later, I received a text message with a photo of another man that I love heading off on a bicycle to his first day of classes at Ivy Tech.
Suddenly, I'm keenly aware of the fact that we officially have an "empty nest." Who knew time could pass so quickly? How I cherished every minute! And I'm eager to cheer them on in their next steps.
Many have warned me about the deep sense of loss that a mother might experience at this point in the parenting journey. I thought that perhaps I'd be immune from such sentiments. After all, I have a pretty full life, a busy ministry schedule, and all sorts of projects in the works, not to mention I'm in seminary. And it's not like those boys have needed much mothering these past few years.
Yes, something has changed. Its not so much about a loss of identity, but a loss of proximity. They're still my boys, they're just, well, far. Far away from me. Getting on with life. Moving away. Moving on.
As they should.
In the meantime, that guy to whom I said "I DO" 24 years ago is sitting by my side, holding my hand. Together we marvel at what has been and delight in what is still yet to be.
This one I get to keep.