As They Leave Home and We Say Goodbye

So last week, I said, “goodbye” to our oldest daughter again.

It’s that time of year, when we send our kids off to college and wonder again, “How did this go so fast?”

Her flight wasn’t leaving until 5 in the evening so my whole day was just one long goodbye feeling.  I knew it was my last day for a while so emotions were near the surface and I may have cried big drops right into my morning coffee because this growing up and leaving home stuff is hard on this mama.

I’m not a big supporter of mixing it up and adding crazy to my calm.  I like stability in my world.  I like those I love to stay near. I like my people around me and them being a part of my life here and now.

Yet I also want what God wants for them and sometimes those places are not the same place.


I was one of those kids that left home for the big city.  I was itching to get out and couldn’t wait to be on my own.  College couldn’t come fast enough.

It was the best thing for me and I’d make that same choice all over again. I learned big lessons and grew into responsibility in a new way.  I made lifetime friends and began discovering who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.

And maybe as parents that’s why it’s an odd mixed-up bag of emotions.  We’re proud of who they are becoming yet sad that we are setting one less place at the table.

Distance changes things.  Whether they’re across the country or across town.

We’re letting go of what’s familiar and our routine of having them in our everyday lives.  That routine is what we know and we’re forced to let go and grasp again the truth that God’s got them.

We trust Him with their lives. And that’s the best we can do.


As I stood at the airport watching her walk through security check points, my thoughts whispered, “She handles this like a pro…. better than her blubbering mother on this side of the glass.”   

This last spring, our son graduated high school as well.  He’s not boarding a plane for a distant city but he’s on the tarmac of life’s adventure.

I think back to their awkward teen years when Dave and I had conversations about our children and their plans.  We’d wonder, “What the heck are they thinking?”  and Dave, my ever-optimistic hubby, would assure me with, “Just wait… they’ll land well, honey… They’ll land well.”

They haven’t landed yet.  In fact, they have miles to go on this flight.  They’ll face head winds and fly through clouds where they can’t see their way ahead.

In the beginning as parents, we fly their planes.  We’re the pilots on board.  We make the major decisions of bedtime and wake-up time.  We make them eat and we monitor screen time, friends and activity involvement.  We give instruction and point out inflight information.

They age and step into the co-pilot seat.  We hand them the controls for seasons and moments but we still fly the plane because we’re parents, they’re children and good training calls for that.

Now their adults and we watch them board their own planes.  They go through the check points and we stay on the ground.

It’s their turn to fly, make their own flight corrections, and take in the adventure of the horizon ahead.


It doesn’t really matter how many times they take-off, these mama eyes will fill with tears.  Their time of departure is here. It’s their time to board.

For all of you saying goodbye this week, my heart is with you as we adjust to new normals. 

There are empty places at our tables and less laundry in our piles.  Our kids are growing up and it’s all happened faster than we planned.

But can I remind you, it’s good. It’s tough, difficult and not fun at all but it’s good.

We, at one time, boarded our own flight of adventure.  We took off with great excitement, wonder, trepidation and fear all packed in our bags.  We flew our first solo flight and caused panic for our parents on the ground below.

But we landed.

And our kids will land well, too.

We trust them to God.  He’s got a big sky.

We’ve given instruction, trained them well and now they fly and we watch them soar.


Linking up with: #IntentionalTuesday, #TestimonyTuesday, #TellHisStory, #Coffeeforyourheart, #LiveFreeThursday

19 thoughts on “As They Leave Home and We Say Goodbye

  1. Right there with you and Dave this week, Rachel. Our oldest goes for his junior year in college and our youngest will be starting his freshman year in college. After 21 years, the house will get quiet. A wonderful post… Blessings Jim


    • Thank you Jim. The house dynamics change for sure. I think back to people telling me it goes fast but you never quite believe it until you are there yourself! Thanks for jumping in and sharing. It’s great to hear from you! Blessings, Rachel

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yesterday Marilyn, myself and youngest son John headed down to Cardiff for the day (75 miles from us) to help our second son Michael (and our 5-year old grandson) move to a new flat in a nicer part of the city, and right next to our grandson’s school.

    It wasn’t how we expected Michael’s life to work out – 33 years old now and a single parent holding down a demanding job and caring for his son.

    The university goodbyes seem a long way behind us (although we still have one to say goodbye to), yet the parenting responsibilities never diminish, neither does the love.

    Once I again I find myself reminded of our Father’s love for His children. And like you Rachel I trust Him for all of our five kids and thank Him for His great big sky and all of the blessings He has poured out on us through our family.

    Really appreciated this post. Thank you.


  3. Great post! Makes me teary-eyed thinking of my own leaving the nest. (My oldest is 15)
    Not sure this momma’s heart will be able to do it, but I know in His strength I will.
    I know He has great things planned for them and for me in the empty-nest stage!
    Your #IntentionalTuesday neighbor,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really appreciate this encouragement today as my daughter is entering high school in a couple weeks and my son just got his license. I was considering scheduling a cry fest! Thank you. Visiting from #intentionaltuesday today and my email inbox 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, so bittersweet, friend. I find myself preparing to grieve my son just starting back to school, much less an exit from home. I so savor the extra moments we have together in the summer, and losing that it always a little heart wrenching. But you’re right, whether we send them away for the day or for a new adventure, we trust them to God – and He is trustworthy indeed. So great to read your words today. Big hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Tiffany. Yes, it so true. I think each year at this time it’s a little bit heart-wrenching with having them close by, in and out of our days for the summer and the big send off in the autumn is always sad and full of adjustment! Great to hear from you friend! Thanks for jumping in and sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Rachel, I’m in the same boat with you. I just put my man child on a plane to travel halfway around the globe to go to college! Last year for his freshman year, he was stateside, but praise God, we’re able to text back and forth with WhatsApp and have talked on skype twice. He and I are close, so I miss him, but I’m so happy for him!

    Blessings on your daughter’s second year.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It is actually very interesting that I read your blog first from coffee for your heart. I only have a two year old and I am enjoying all the “control” I have now. But it is 50/50 for me. I can see moms dropping off their 5 year olds in kindergarten or in your case having your young adult leave the house and see that it is hard but I feel like through God’s grace and time and just natural progression of stages of life, letting go of the control happens. Not easy but happens. Thank you for sharing your heart. your neighbor from coffee for your heart


  8. Rachel- my youngest went to college this year and we moved to a different state at the same time. So, I understand!!! Like you, I’m so happy for her..but sad at the same time. She’s loving college and is having a blast. She went to a private spirit-filled christian university so that soothes me!! LOL. I’m your neighbor over at our beautiful Suzies today!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a crazy lot of stuff in a summer! I can relate. We moved also… but just to a new house locally, our son graduated from high school as well so it was a bit crazy! So glad God gets us through and that in all this He sustains us! (Our daughter goes to Northwest University outside of Seattle – Spirit-filled, private institution…. all good stuff and so thankful! ) Thanks for stopping over and jumping in! Heading over to visit you as well! Have a great Thursday!


  9. Very well written- expresses eloquently the way I feel letting my kids go. It isn’t any easier seeing the youngest one head off for his second year than it was his 5 older siblings. But they were all happy and loved the places God put them in his plan and I had to learn to accept that, hard as it was and is!

    Liked by 1 person

Jump right in & join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.