Heather Duckworth’s viral Facebook post is accompanied by a photo of several pairs of shoes on the porch, a sign that her house is full for what could be the last time.

July 16, 2018
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Heather Duckworth was going about her day when she returned home from running errands to find a large collection of shoes on her porch. This wasn’t out of the ordinary for the busy mom considering she has two 18-year-old sons, a 20-year-old son, and a 12-year-old daughter who are often with friends. But, in that moment, Duckworth couldn’t help but feel a wave of nostalgia for what the shoes represented—she took to Facebook to share her touching thoughts, and the response she got was outstanding.

What a simple yet impactful metaphor for such a monumental transition in life. We feel the pain as Duckworth comprehends her sadness in that moment, “These thoughts hang over my head like a dark cloud... trying to steal the joy from the present moments. I shake my head, trying to force those wistful feelings away. I don’t want the sadness of what is to come to take away the happiness of today.”

Even though Duckworth’s emotions are unavoidable, she is able to enjoy life in that moment while she can, “But for now, I will embrace these shoes and I will be so thankful for them. I will buy all the snacks. I will welcome these kids into my home and let them crash on my couches. I will soak up the sounds of their laughter and I will make them clean up all of their messes. I will pray that everyone drives home safely and I will love having a full house.”

We couldn’t think of a more thoughtful and accurate way to depict the emotions a mother feels when her children are getting ready to leave the nest. We are hardly surprised the post went viral with 110K likes, 101K shares, and 17K comments.

Overwhelmed by the immense love and support Duckworth received, she followed up with a second post in which she explained that reading other’s comments was the best part of her viral experience.

Duckworth offers an update on where the shoes are now: one pair is training with the Air Force, three pairs are off at college, one pair is doing mission work in Nevada, and another is touring Europe. Although she reflects on her sadness, Duckworth is also beaming with pride and knows there will always be a spot for those shoes on her porch.

With a mom like Duckworth we have the feeling there will always be a collection of shoes finding their way back to the porch, despite where her children decide to chase their dreams.

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