What's A-Parent

Why One Mom Is Treasuring A Pile Of Shoes During Her Sons' 18th Summer

"They will be taking their first steps of independence."

A pile of shoes on a front porch isn't anything out of the ordinary for most households, but for Heather Duckworth it held special meaning during her sons' 18th summer. The Love, Faith & Chaos mom blogger wrote a heartfelt Facebook post on June 20 about seeing a pile of shoes outside her door and all that it represents.

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The mom — who has an 11-year old daughter, 18-year-old twin sons, and a 20-year-old son — begins, "These shoes mean that I have a house full of kids . . . mostly teenagers. These shoes are a sure sign that it is summer and school is out. These shoes mean there is probably no food left in my house. These shoes mean noise and chaos and laughter and music."

When she returned from errands and saw the shoes recently, it brought on a wave of sadness because she realized that things were changing. She has looked at the pile of shoes for four years, and associates so many memories with them, but most of the kids who wear the shoes have just graduated from high school and she realizes that time is precious in her 18th summer with her sons.

"I know that after this summer, things will never be the same again. This is a bittersweet part of parenthood . . . this transition from having them home to watching them leave. My head knows this is a good thing, but my heart . . . it just hurts."

Duckworth continues that she knows seeing the shoes in the house means that the kids are safe, but soon all the shoes with be "scattered across college campuses" and she knows "all of these shoes might not find their way back home next summer as life takes them on new adventures."

The time might be bittersweet, but the Tampa, Fla. mom wants to focus on creating happy memories rather than focusing on the sadness that could come. She is going to be thankful for the shoes and enjoy every moment with the kids.

She concludes, "So I am going to treasure this summer of the shoes . . . Because I know that all too soon those shoes will be running off exploring the world . . . and my porch will be empty."

The sentimental post generated a massive amount of interest with it being shared over 88,000 times in a week and receiving 14,000 comments.

After the post went viral, Duckworth wrote a follow-up post on June 27. In it she admits she felt a bit overwhelmed at the response, but she was touched by the comments and how the story resonated with so many.

"I have loved the stories and pictures that you have shared of shoes on your porches and appreciated every virtual hug. This stage of life is bittersweet for sure," she writes. "[I'm] so happy for our children and so proud of them, yet so sad for us when they spread those wings and leave the nest."

"But what a gift you all have given me in knowing that I am not alone in feeling this way. Motherhood is hard, but we are all in this together! It takes a village."

(H/T: Fox News)

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