I once read that you start saying goodbye to your child the moment you give birth.
Trusting another to watch them for an hour, their first crawl and first steps, the first day of pre-school, start of kindergarten, first time sleeping away from home, on and on the goodbyes go.
The initial time that my younger son and then daughter went off to a weeklong, overnight summer camp – those were big goodbyes. And, of course, taking my oldest to college for the very first time, that was the biggest goodbye yet. Somehow my body was able to produce tears the whole four hour drive back home. Just when I thought there weren’t any left, they would start flowing down my cheeks once again.
This summer marked two more goodbyes.
Brett graduated from college in May and took an actuarial job far away, in Orlando. Even though I couldn’t possibly be more proud or happier for him, when the moment came for him to actually leave our driveway in his packed car, well, let’s just say I’m not stoic in those moments. Nope, I’m pretty much the exact opposite. I made it very difficult for him to leave, but what can I say? I love that guy like crazy.
And today, we just returned from taking Collin to Grand Rapids for the start of his education at Cornerstone University. I (mostly) held it together until we got in the car and left, but I’ve definitely proved to both of my boys that I’m terrible at goodbyes.
And now, walking through the house and his room, I don’t know if this heart of mine can take it. I’ll just miss that wonderful boy around here so much. What can I say? I love that guy like crazy.
I can’t wait to someday ask God why He created our maternal instinct to be so strong and powerful, with His complete knowledge that one day we have to just open our arms wide and let them go.
I’ve been walking around the house, into both of my sons’ empty rooms and have a sinking feeling in my heart. I feel terribly homesick . . in my own home.
And I know full well that there are multitudes of parents that have been forced to say their final and last goodbyes to their children and release them right back to you, Lord, and with that thought, all I can say is thank you.
Thank you God for these blessed years we’ve had with our three precious children and thank you that we enjoy such close, loving relationships with each one of them.
As much as my heart hurts right now, what an incredible blessing that we have a pre-teen, a teenager and a young adult that we can call “ours” and whom we love to spend time with, and they with us.
I can look back on all the great memories of their childhoods with sadness for wanting more time, or I can look back with such gratitude for what was and what is still to come.
I’ve learned that I have to allow myself to feel the sadness and let the tears go when I feel the need to, only then can I move forward.
And this next stage of life will be great, for all of us.
We still have the blessing of our youngest at home and she and I begin a new chapter as we start homeschooling for the first time, next week. I can’t wait to spend so much time each and every day with my daughter, to learn and grow and to share life right alongside her. What can I say? I love that girl like crazy.
Thank you God for the joy and the tears, the laughter and the love. I’m thankful for this life in all it’s fullness, what was and what’s still to come.
“There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to rebuild. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to lose. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak up. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace. ” Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
“You will never be completely at home again. Because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” -Miriam Adeney
Debbie…..I look forward to reading your posts. You are very wise and very inspiring. I am feeling the same as you with our nest being empty. We are going through many changes here at our home at the moment but God always proves to be faithful. I rest on that and know that whether or not I feel it at the time God is ALWAYS there and in complete control. Thanks again for another awesome post!
Amen and amen! Thanks so much Heidi! YOU are very wise and inspiring! Your encouragement and friendship mean so much to me! I will be praying for you through the changes you’re facing right now. Blessings to you and Mike!
I love you mom. I miss you all like crazy
Love you too, Collin Jake!
Debbie, yet again my heart is overflowing with gratitude as you have been able to put into words what my heart is feeling. I too have been spending some time this week in their empty rooms and crying myself . . . Boy, I love my four young men like crazy!
Thank you, Kim!! You and Bill are so blessed with four terrific young men!! I feel your pain and am praying for you!
Awesome post, Debbie. Of course I read this as Carly has been traveling for the last 24 hours to her post in Germany and we won’t see her for another 8 months. I miss you! Erin
I miss you too Erin! And I’ve been praying for Carly – I jotted down the date she was leaving on my calender from last time we talked. I’m so happy to read she’s already there and getting settled in. I subscribed to her blog so I can stay up to date on her adventures! I’ll keep her in my prayers often and you too, Mom! Hang in there. Love and Blessings to you today my friend!
It’s as if you are inside my mind and were able to put down into words ( much more eloquently than I) the feelings I have as my children have all reached the college age! Thank you for your insight Debbie, you continue to inspire me in so many ways.
Thank so much Beth, I know that most all of us that have had our kids leave the nest, feel this way. Definitely helps to know we’re not alone! xoxoxo