Let go and allow them to grow


Your eyes glisten with tears as you grab for yet another tissue.

You promised yourself and your family you wouldn’t cry, that you’d maintain your composure.

After all, this is that moment when the baby you have cared for with such tenderness spreads their wings and begin to move forward into the wild, blue yonder.

A couple of years ago I wrote about that moment of letting go, as your child seems to march directly from Pomp and Circumstance at their high school graduation to the future awaiting them through the open door of the great world beyond. You wonder where the years went, as you think about that little five year old you accompanied to kindergarten. Wasn’t that just yesterday?

For those of you with young children, know that the years will compress and glide past you at increasing speeds. The excitement of that first day of school blends into years of lows and highs, of morning battles over getting up, being able to borrow the car, of confidences shared and prayers answered.

Treasure every day, and know as well that every year, although you will hold their heart forever, you will hold their hand just a little bit less.

For those of you who are making last minute purchases, signing reams of forms, and  loading your car to the gills, 
I dedicate this post.


Many of you will be facing the bittersweet moment this month of watching your child head off to college. Your heart swells with pride at what a terrific young adult your baby has grown into, yet you are concerned about letting go, and letting them grow on their own.

I know. We have been there.

The first time we dropped our eldest off at college, I thought I was going to be just fine. I was so excited for her, and the plans she was making for herself. She was and is an independent thinker who is guided by a strong core of decency and knowing right from wrong.


What could I, or any other mom possibly be, other than exceptionally proud?


Oh. I could be a blubbering mom.

Just like those before me, and those who would follow.

I would get better over the years at saying goodbye, but as someone who can be brought to tears by the slightest hint of emotion in a TV commercial, it has always been a bit of a struggle for me.

We have been there twice, with both daughters. We have seen them off, not only to the start of their college careers, but also to side trips that had me stressing.

There was the weeklong bare bones hike into the mountains with no soap or shampoo, and-gasp!-no electronics, that also required each participant to spend one night camping completely alone. (Quick-where is that paper bag I keep handy so that I can stop hyperventilating?)

There was the trip we weren’t able to make to JFK airport, in New York City, to watch the plane whisk our daughter to Paris for her junior year abroad. That was tough. Especially the panicked phone call from her, hundreds of miles away, saying that she had left her backpack-her life, her passport-in the van when it dropped her at the airport. (She was reunited shortly with her pack, thankfully!)

Breathe, breathe, breathe.


There is goodness and gratitude to be found in this place.


If you think your heart swells with pride and possibly constricts a little with concern at watching them leave home for the first time, just be patient, and watch them grow into adulthood. There is hope, for those of you who are in the midst of those “terrible, horrible, no good very bad” teen years. Much like the ordinary caterpillar who becomes a lovely butterfly, your child-who you may have joked about putting out in the yard with a “free to any home” sign-will transform into a really nice human being and a good friend.

Soldier on, my friends. Parenting is not an easy task, nor is it generally filled with gratitude from your teens. But the rewards are great. Grow them up, and let them go.


My takeaway for you today is simple.


Stay hopeful.

Remain loving.

Be a beacon of faith.

Be steadfastly firm, fair, and when the situation calls for it, flexible.

Look beyond the skirmishes of today to the rewards of tomorrow.

Keep the faith. As Hebrews 11:1 reminds us:  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.


Question: Do you have a graduate leaving the nest? How are you coping? Have you lived through it and have wisdom to share?

Thanks so much for joining the conversation!

Sharing at NOBHFinding Heaven

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photo by: Elsie esq.


  1. Wonderful reflective thoughts Kim. Thank you for sharing.

    Watching a child step away from the tried and familiar, into the unknowns of independence and adulthood will take any parent’s breath away. The good news is that now, the wisdom and insight you’ve shared through the years, will now circulate fully to bring life-giving air to more than you ever could have reached alone.

    • Watching your child step to the edge of the nest, spread their wings, and look back for one last drink of encouragement does take your breath away. It doesn’t mean you stop providing a home base of wit, wisdom and friendship. You will always mentor them to one degree or another as they grow into new stages. It is especially gratifying to see them helping and encouraging others as you did so for them.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Joel!

  2. What a great post to share right about now! I know there are lots of moms about to take that step that will feel so much better because of your reassurance! Thanks Kim.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Auntie Em! If you know anyone at this stage, feel free to send this along. This letting go can be a big step!

  3. Been there and done it with a son AND a daughter. You’re right, Kim – it’s bittersweet. We miss them, but it’s what we’ve worked toward as a parent, so there’s a sense of relief and accomplishment. It’s so fun to see them become more independent.

    We’ll have a college graduate next year, so that’ll be another milestone. Hopefully he’ll be employed and, as my hubby says, “off the payroll.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kim!

    • “Off the payroll” ;-D
      I have no doubt many parents can identify with that feeling, Susan! It is fun to see them more independent, especially because it’s so exciting to see them pull out some of those tools you taught them to use as they were growing up.
      Thanks for coming by and sharing your perspective!

  4. I really appreciate your words of wisdom and encouragement although our girl is in elementary school. When the time comes, I will probably be like you – blubbering big time, and our girl will be just fine. Thank you also for sharing your story on my blog…so glad, you were able to enjoy your unexpected early drive with God…inspiring…Happy Tuesday, Kim :)

    • It’s so great your girl is only in elementary school. You have time to share and enjoy her with all the wisdom you possess. You are welcome, love to visit!

  5. My girls are still little but, gosh, the years go fast. My heart hurts just thinking about the day I will have to set them free. I pray that I will have taught them well and that they will live lives of radical faith in Him.

    • Absolutely, Stacy! We do the best we know how to parent and pray they will remain rooted in their faith when those cultural winds blow so temptingly upon them.

  6. I’m like you, Kim, I’ve seen two of my oldest head of to college–one of whom graduated this past May. I still know that my one child still at home will grow up and out of my home before I know it. I agree that our days of motherhood “compress and glide past us at increasing speed.” It’s a hard reality but also very rewarding. Thanks for this inspirational and wise post!

    • Congrats on the latest college grad, Beth! A friend told me long ago the days would fly, and they were so right. What’s that saying about the days sometimes dragging but the years flying by? That was accurate in our home. It’s so wonderful for your one still at home that you are so appreciative of the time you have with them. Thanks for coming by!

  7. beautiful reminders.

  8. Oh, I love this, Kim. YES, I have one leaving the nest in TWO WEEKS–my firstborn, Madison. I’ve been so excited for her, but I’m getting pretty weepy. Like you, though, I’m so, so proud and know it’ll only get better from here. This is just a part of life, and it’s almost like it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief or something–like my job is sort of done in a way. Wonderful post, and very timely for me. Love these Scriptures, too. <3

    • I’m so glad you found comfort here, Amy. You put it well, that you can breathe a sigh of relief. You’ve helped your daughter climb her own mountain this far, provided her with all the wisdom and love you have, and helped show her how she carries the armor of God to help her be strong as she heads into the world.

      I love that verse, too. It is my youngest daughter’s favorite, and she actually drew me a small sketch one day that I keep on my bulletin board and that prompted a post. You can see it here: Letting go and hanging on, http://www.toodarnhappy.com/2011/08/10/letting-go-and-hanging-on/.

      Blessings to you, and thanks so much for coming by and sharing, Amy. I always look forward to what you have to say. :-)

  9. I can totally relate to this one. I have sent six of my children off into adulthood. I keep telling my children to enjoy the moments of raising children. I don’t think I always did that. I think that we are forever parents. The hardest time for me has been the adult married children. You can only advise and it can get complicated. Grandchildren are the very best of it all!
    Blessings for this one!

    • Six? Wow-kudos to you for that! I agree-I don’t think I took enough time to enjoy our girls, and I will certainly encourage them to do so.
      Family relationships can be complex, but grandchildren must make it so sweet!
      Thanks for sharing your perspective, LeAnn.

  10. My kids are super young, still, but I tiny “letting go” moments, like the first time I let Fiona go into Old Navy by herself to buy flip flops or walk the dog around the block by herself. I know these moments will get bigger and bigger over time. And when I feel overwhelmed by them, I will come to you for advice :)

    • Awww. Those little letting go moments are sweet, Ilene!

      I remember with such clarity the first time Keith and I took a walk to the nearest intersection and back so the girls could stay by themselves. I nearly hyperventilated the whole time, and we were only gone for about 10 or 15 minutes.

      You are right about the moments getting bigger, but with all of your practicing, you are laying a real solid foundation. If and when those difficult days come, Ilene, you are welcome to a seat on my porch anytime. We will sit, commiserate, encourage, and maybe cry and laugh, and eat yummy, healthy, sugar free food, too. ;-D <3

  11. I. Am. Bawling. My oldest is only 10 and my youngest is starting Kindergarten. It SEEMS so far away, what you talk about, but I ABSOLUTELY KNOW it’s going to come at me so fast.

  12. Kim,
    I have always held on to the belief that they are on loan to us from our Heavenly Father, and while it’s hard to watch them grow, it’s also exhilarating! You’ve confirmed my belief with this beautiful post. I am so thankful to know you through NOBH. Thank you for your constant inspiration.
    Love and God Bless,

  13. Thank you, Christy, for your lovely comment. You are an inspiration to me!

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