For most parents, coming home to find sneakers tossed outside of your front door is nothing strange. You know that your kids are inside, hanging out with their friends. But that pile of shoes means more than a house full of kids: It symbolizes all the memories that have been created. And one day, the heap will disappear from your porch.
When mom Heather Duckworth came home one day to find that pile of shoes, she realized it would be the last summer she’ll spend with her oldest sons before they start college. (She has two 18-year-old sons who are triplets; they lost their brother at age 6. She also has a 20-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter.) So Duckworth snapped a shot of the scene and shared the photo to her popular Facebook page, Love, Faith & Chaos, last month, along with a bittersweet message that pulled at everyone’s heartstrings.
Just read for yourself:
Duckworth explained that she “loves” having those shoes on her porch because it means her children are all home and safe. But, she continued, she knows that those shoes “won’t be here much longer” as all the youngsters move on to the next stage of their lives.
“All too soon these shoes will be scattered across different college campuses and they will be taking their first steps of independence,” the Tampa, Florida mom wrote. “And I know that all of these shoes might not find their way back home next summer as life takes them on new adventures.”
Duckworth’s Facebook message quickly went viral, racking up more than 60,000 likes and over 100,000 shares so far. Facebook users also flooded her post with comments, with many sharing their own stories of their 18th summer.
One commenter empathized with Duckworth, writing:
“That’s is so true. As I was reading this it reminded so much of the days when my kids were all home. They are all grown and gone now. Time passes so fast. Enjoy every moment you have with your kids.”
The response to her original post had been so overwhelming that Duckworth posted an update to Facebook, responding to the positive attention. More importantly, though, the mom blogger explained that, while she’ll miss the pile of shoes, she’s proud and happy that her children are spreading “those wings” and leaving the nest.
“I will always welcome their shoes on my porch – no matter how old they get,” she wrote.