When your children are living at home, there are days you think you’ll go crazy. The non-stop noise, the telephones and the slamming of the doors can drive any human being out of their mind.

And then it happens. You find yourself watching your son drive off to college and it’s hard to believe that 18 years have gone by and your child is all grown up.

Mothers spend so much of their lives doing things for their children that when the children leave home, mothers have to get use to the silence. Even having time for themselves seems strange at first.

Letting go was not easy for me, but when my sons went off to college I still had my daughter at home to console my aching heart. But this month, our daughter will graduate from high school and once again I find myself looking back, astonished at how fast the time has flown by. Thinking about her graduation reminded me about an incident that happened with my younger son.

I received a package from him one day and because my birthday was a week away, I thought it was a birthday present. I can still remember how excited I was that he had remembered my birthday. I was teary eyed and emotional as I opened the package. Then I found the new shirt I had bought for him before he left and a button taped to a piece of paper where he had scribbled, “Mom, please sew this button back on the shirt. Thank you. Love, C.” Motherhood, does it ever end? Do we really want it to end?

As I was sewing the button on his shirt, I thought about all the times my parents have been there for me. I thought about all the loving, thoughtful things they have done for me over the years for no other reason than just because I am their daughter. I have memories of my mother sewing and making me clothes and memories of her also mending my heart. When you grow up receiving love from your parents, you end up giving it to your children. The love that you receive in small doses on a daily basis becomes a part of you and when you become a parent you pass that on to your children.

It wasn’t until I became a parent that I realized how much my parents loved me. Someday my children will understand all the things I now see so clearly. Parenthood does that to you. It teaches you about life and gives you the opportunity to view your childhood through a different set of eyes.

Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer, and certified parent educator with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior and Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom. Follow her on Twitter @PowerOfFamily or contact her at her Web site at www.redirectingchildrenrgv.org.