But now, with two of those girls already back to their post-college lives and their youngest looking ahead to starting university in the fall, the country music couple are on the verge of becoming empty nesters. And as any parent can attest, while that may be inevitable, that doesn’t make it easy.
Watch TODAY All Day! Get the best news, information and inspiration from TODAY, all day long.
“It’s tough,” McGraw explained in an interview with Willie Geist for Sunday TODAY. “There’s a part of you that is excited for them. You want them to go out and conquer the world and have fun and do all the things that kids do. But you don’t want them to leave your protection.”
That’s when the father of Gracie, 23, Maggie, 22, and Audrey, 18, hit at the heart of the hardest part of watching your kids grow up and move out.
“You certainly don’t want to feel like they don’t need you anymore,” he said, looking genuinely pained to even contemplate it.
Of course, adulthood doesn’t mean there’s no need for mom and dad, and recently, amid the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve felt particularly needed.
“In these times, it’s a little different because not knowing what’s going to happen with college with our youngest daughter,” he noted. “For her, it’s not been so good, but for us, it’s been sort of a blessing because you never see them that much.”
While McGraw and Hill’s trio of daughters were all around the house a few days ago, they had a chance to appreciate seeing their parents share a rare celebration.
Hill and the girls threw the “I Called Mama” singer an intimate party to celebrate the release of his new album, “Here on Earth," which dropped Friday.
“We had never, ever done that before in our entire careers, had any kind of listening party — especially with just the family,” McGraw mentioned during a Friday morning visit to TODAY.
The soon-to-be empty nester then joked, “I think it’s the first time my girls listened to my music all the way through!”