Unprepared – a son leaving home

Eighteen years ago I did the most amazing thing – I gave birth to my son. It was a miracle, such pain and joy and love all rolled into one.

Today my boy left home, to start his own journey in a city far away. I feel those birthing pains again as I let him go; I love him to bits and pray for his future and his protection. Even after all those years I feel unprepared.

Have you read actor Rob Lowe’s account of sending his son to college? I don’t think anything prepares you for this day. I urge you to read this article as it captures the ‘letting go’ with great clarity.

Dad, what if it’s too hard for me here?” he asks me later, sitting on his fold-out bed back at the hotel, looking more “fresh” than “man.”

“You came from a very tough academic school with great grades. You took the tests, you got the scores, you did the hours and you did the travel and extracurriculars. You made it happen. No one else. This won’t be any different. This school chose you because they know you can succeed here.”
“None of the other kids look scared at all,” he says, and for the first time I can remember since he was a baby, I can see his eyes welling up. I want to reach out and hug him, but I don’t. Instead I look him in the eye.
“Never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.”

There is much pain and joy in the letting go. As father and mother, parents to our son we share this journey together. As a family we regroup, smaller around the dinner table, different banter and chat. No one tells jokes like he does. Our lives will be altered. There is now only 6mouths2feed and I am somewhat unprepared.

Home at Last

It is the end of a busy week. The week my eldest kiddo finishes school. Exams are just around the corner. This week has been about dinners, specials services, awards, speeches and some ‘controlled’ dressing up and fun. Do I remember my year 12 end of year celebration? Yes. Was it meaningful? Probably not in the way it should have been.

I have been thinking about what you tell your child on the cusp of 13 years of schooling coming to an end. What do we as parents want for our kids as they move onto the next thing, a new chapter, a new independent life? As always it is easy to reflect on all the things I don’t want him to do – don’t get caught up in the freedom and allow it to take you on its own journey. Be present, be mindful and be intentional. With your time, emotions and actions.

Hopefully what we have provided for our kids is a home. A safe, refuge from the challenges of life, in a world that is humming at a rapid rate. A place where grace, love, hospitality and generosity can be experienced. A place of joy, sorrow and forgiveness – a home. As they leave home to do the next thing, they need to know that home is still there, for them. But they are now in the business of creating their own ‘home’. I hope that home for him, for you and me  home is like Josh Garrels song, Home at Last. I leave you with the lyrics and a link to the song here:

Who is that at the end of lonesome roads
All of us hope there’s a home
Place to rest where wounds get dressed
The table’s full the sound of laughter in the halls

Light the fire gather round
Join together sing it loud
Raise the glass and joyful be
Home at last one family

We’re all orphans looking for an open door

Hard times come no more
Come on up to the house of the Lord
Father adopts us all

Light the fire gather round
Join together sing it loud
Raise the glass and joyful be
Home at last one family