My third child, my baby, graduates from high school in ten days. He plans to go to a university that is ten hours away from his mother. Let the mourning begin.

You would think that dealing with children growing up and moving away gets easier with practice. But I know from experience that it does not.

Mark and me

Last night at dinner he asked me, “Mom, are you going to take care of my dog when I go away?” Long pause. The meat stuck in my throat. I almost said, “No son, I will not. If you don’t want little Remi to starve to death then you will have to stay home.” But instead I said, “Of course I will, son.”

This “leaving” of children is a hard process for us mothers. Each departure is a unique grief because each child is a rare, individual creation of God. Each has his own personality, his own gifts, his own strengths and weaknesses. Each is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps 139:14).

Each mother/child relationship also possesses its own dynamic. Each sets its own rhythm. Keeps its own pace. Moves in its own direction. Therefore, each separation brings a different kind of loss. Inflicts its own pain.

I know I’m sounding melodramatic. I keep telling myself he is only going to college. He will come home now and then. (Even if it’s just to see his dog.) I survived my two daughters going to school and I have strong, growing relationships with both of them.

He’s not leaving me. He is simply going to something new. However, all this did make me wonder how God feels when we “leave” Him. When we choose to fall back, step away, move on to something new. In these cases, we are choosing something over God. Can you imagine the heartbreak He feels?

Have you “left” God recently, even in some small way? He promises in His Word that if you return to Him, He will be there (Malachi 3:7).

In what ways do you need to “return” to God today?


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