I opened the front door, and the silence engulfed me. As I walked through the apartment the remnants of the previous day and week were noticeable, a misplaced chair, dishes in the sink and a cupboard that contained a few of my daughter’s books and clothes.

Going through the last few weeks was like being in a dream, floating a long, witnessing a series of events take place. Time had sped by from the time the proposal and engagement had taken place to this day, the day after her Nikah (marriage ceremony).

The hardest part of being a parent is watching your child grow up, become independent and move on with their lives. No one tells you about the desolation you feel when they get married and leave your house.

I had been through this once before with my oldest daughter and seeing her getting married to the love of her life and moving out was a joyous occasion filled with happy tears and a tinged with a hint of sadness.

For months afterwards every time she visited, I felt sad when she left. I knew she wasn’t far from me, in fact, she was literally ten minutes away. It wasn’t that though, it was the absence in the apartment, the sound of her voice, the key in the door as she came home from work and the long chats we had while we cooked, washed dishes, or ate supper. I was grateful to have had my youngest daughter still living with me when her sister got married and although she had spent the better part of four years away at university she had come home to live and start working.  I had been blessed to have both my daughters live with me until they got married.

I walked into my daughter’s room, it was mostly empty, the bed and other bits and pieces had made its way to her new apartment. I smiled as I remembered how beautifully her new apartment had looked after my eldest daughter and I had left it the day before. There were rose petals strewn along the floor from the doorway to the bedroom culminating in a heart shaped design on the bed. On the dining room table there was a bowl with non-alcoholic champagne and chocolates and letters from us to her and her new husband. I had cried throughout the Nikah, as I had done with my eldest daughter, so many emotions and memories had run through my mind while I was sitting listening to the ceremony, of them as babies, toddlers, teenagers, and now grown-up women. Where did the years go? It seemed we had all reached this point way too soon. I didn’t know how to let them go after having them with me for so long and I just wasn’t prepared for the two weddings in two years.

I knew they were close by and would be even closer once I had moved to my new apartment, and I knew they would be there for me when I needed them. They had both moved on to the next step of their journey and I had to do the same. I had gained two wonderful sons in laws and extended families for which I was grateful beyond words.

As I closed the curtains and switched on the lights my tears fell silently. My phone suddenly started buzzing, it was both my daughters, calling me on a joint video chat. I wiped away my tears and answered with a smile.

My daughters are the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present and hope and promise of the future. They are truly my greatest treasures.