When you become a mom, you become a heart donor. From that moment on, a piece of your heart goes walking around outside your body.
It’s not that other things and people—a spouse, jobs, friends, callings, passions, goals and dreams—don’t have your heart, too. It’s just that your children have written their names on pieces of your heart in indelible love.
Because of this, part of a mom’s heart is always where her children are.
When my children were little, my heart was often in my arms or on my lap or wrapped around my legs while I was trying to make dinner.
Then it was at a school desk or on a bus or at a friend’s house for a playdate or a sleepover.
Now that my children are a teen and a young adult, my heart is, at various times, in a high school classroom or walking across a university campus or in a dorm room. It’s often in a car, on a road I pray is safe.
At other times, my heart is in a school gymnasium or at a dance studio or at a significant other’s house.
A few days ago, one piece of my heart was in a 1st/2nd split-grade elementary classroom where my college student—an education major—was a substitute teacher. In a few months, it will be in Ecuador, where she’ll be doing cross-cultural study.
Where it will be after she graduates is still entirely unknown, which my heart finds a little unsettling but also exciting, on her behalf.
Sometimes—the best times—all of my heart is in my living room.
Depending on where their own children are, other moms’ hearts are in other places right now, I know.
Somewhere, there is a mom whose heart is in another room in the same house…only a few physical steps away but many emotional miles away.
There is a mom whose heart is on the job, in an office or a shop or a factory.
There is a mom whose heart is on a military base.
There is a mom whose heart is in a hospital room.
There is a mom whose heart is in heaven.
There is a mom whose heart is in a house across town or halfway around the world, maybe raising other little hearts who also have this mom’s heart.
There is a mom whose heart is someplace she does not know, because she does not know where the child who has her heart is.
There is a mom whose heart is at home, waiting for her child to come back to her.
Many times since I became a mom, I’ve commented that I don’t know where my mind went. (I’m still on the hunt for it, by the way—so if you happen to come across my mind, please feel free to return it to me.)
But I know where my heart went. I know where it is. I know where it will always be.
This post originally appeared on Guilty Chocoholic Mama