I’ve felt unusually emotional the past couple of days, without really knowing why. It hit me sometime yesterday while I was trying to think through something at work. I couldn’t put my finger on it then, but now I think I know.

If you’re a mom, you feel what your children feel. When they are tiny and they have colic and cry, you’re at least as miserable as they are.

When they’re a little older and it’s chickenpox, ear infections, strep or a broken bone, you hurt too.

When they go to junior high and they feel like they don’t fit in, or the kids are mean, you remember when you felt the same way and you feel it all over again, but this time it’s worse because it’s your child.

The first time they fall in love and their heart breaks, yours breaks too.

You’re excited with and for them as they leave the nest, even though there’s an empty room in your home and a place in your heart that aches for them just a tiny bit.

As you watch them build their own lives and follow their dreams, their dreams become just a little bit yours, too.

I think that explains why, when I watched my oldest, Elizabeth, cross the finish line for her first marathon, I could not stop the tears. Thinking about the commitment, sacrifice and dedication it takes to complete 26.2 miles amazed me, but thinking about what that finish line meant to her brought the lump to my throat.

And maybe it explains why there may be a tear or two in a few hours when I see my youngest, Sara Ann, off to Zambia for a mission trip, which she has dreamed of since middle school. The fact that what she’s wanted for this long is to go to Africa and serve humbles me and fills me with admiration.

I don’t live through them, but being part of their adult lives is fulfilling in a way I never anticipated when they were small and I didn’t want them to grow up.

I’m so glad they didn’t listen.

Godspeed, Srannie.

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