One lonely car in the driveway — where there were five. Two empty bedrooms. One mama’s heart breaking. Again.
Will I ever get better at this? Will that first empty morning after they move out ever seem less lonely? Less packed full of deep sadness?
The house, filled all summer with DIY projects, lies quiet in its straightness. I craved straightness when the crafting supplies covered the tables. Now, I crave the piles of busy creations. I craved less to do when the days were overrun with lists. Now I crave non-stop conversation and errands together and futures to be discussed.
My girls have returned to college. And it’s not only the car in the driveway who finds itself lonely.
(I’m sorry if you wished I’d not write — again — about this year-after-year flood of missing-them emotions. I tried to. But then I remembered you. My friend who’s feeling the same. And if writing helps me process my sadness, maybe reading will help you in some way?)
Sending them out, elementary – adulthood
Our hearts break when our children fly from the nest. Straight as wobbly arrows they soar, navigating unknown waters, venturing into newness all around — without us. We’re no longer there. We’re no longer at their side as they struggle to ride their first bike; no longer cheering within their hearing, “You can do it! I’m so proud of you!”
Instead, they go out — on their own.
So. We weep in the missing. For the crying somehow helps us.
And we pray. For our prayers, miraculously, help them.
For even as we, perched in our emptying nest, cry with sad hearts, we also remember and believe and know this precious answer: They aren’t alone. The Lord God goes before them. He fights for them. He loves the children we love, and unlike us, He can be there with them.
So, mingled with an aching heart’s tears this morning, I pray the same prayer I prayed when they left for first grade and fourth and eleventh. I, from deep within, cry to my good Father, who listens and always plans their good.
Pray with me? For your own children, and for those you know who have no one to pray for them:
O kindest of Fathers, Lord God, I ask you to keep my precious children as they live their day in places where I’m not. Care for them and carry them. Remind them of your love! Do for them what they can’t do for themselves — turn their hearts to you as they move through this day. Protect and keep them. Grow their faith in you alone. Comfort them. Encourage them when they feel fear. Convict them when they feel pride. Please, work today to grow in them a passion for you and your ways, creating within them a soft heart that loves you deeply, follows you closely, and affects their generation for you in profound ways. Thank for the honor of knowing and being in their lives! Do for them what you’ve been doing for them all along: please be their protector and guide. Please be the lover of their soul! Please be their God.