"....... for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" Psalm 103:14

The day I left home

Before I got married for the second time, I was living with my youngest son, by then a young man. We lived in my brand new home, God's wonderful and generous provision for us at the end of my protracted, stressful and painful property settlement process. We'd lived there, not always harmoniously, nor always peaceably, for the better part of ten months, and before that, for the previous eleven years we'd lived in what had been our second family home. My older son had moved out of that home two years before, and was happily independent, as much as it's possible to be at 22, anyway.

An odd start
After I got married, and after our two honeymoon nights in a beautiful hotel, I moved in with my new husband. And his three kids. For three nights. Then I moved back to my own home again. For three nights.

I realise that may sound a little strange, and honestly, it wasn't because of the three kids that I moved back to my own home.......... Honest! The reality was that we had a bit of an unusual start to remarried life, not least because of the speed with which we progressed from "Will you marry me?" to "I do". Exactly five weeks, to the day. But also because we had to perfectly time our wedding day, not only to allow for the requisite thirty days from lodging the application to marry, but also for the wedding to take place before I left the country on my much-planned, long-anticipated, 8 weeks of long service leave. And so that my new husband could join me after the first few weeks, and we could enjoy a wonderful honeymoon. And then there was my husband's ministry commitment, just five days after the wedding, for which he flew to another state, leaving me behind to pack my bags ready for Paris. So there I was, back in my own home, getting ready.

Then I left home. For good.
The day I left, the day I "moved out of home", was an unexpectedly emotional wrench for me. It just felt so strange, it was totally the wrong way around. I was leaving home. That's not how it should be, it should have been my children leaving home, when they (we) were ready, and I should have been the one left behind to grieve a little, to miss them a lot, to reflect nostalgically on their childhoods, and to wish them well, share their excitement and support them as they stepped into independence and adulthood. (And then, five minutes later, rub my hands together with glee and begin turning the empty bedroom into a craft room, or reading corner, or a welcoming spare bedroom.........)

Bags packed, ready to go
But here I was, bags packed, waiting for my girlfriend to arrive to take me to the airport. And I was in tears! As I hugged my youngest son, the one left behind, instead of me, in the home we'd shared, I was overwhelmed by the thought that this was it. I would never again live in the same house as this beautiful boy of mine. When I returned from Paris in two months' time, I would be living in my new husband's home. Only five minutes away, for sure, but nevertheless, this was truly the end of an era. My nest was empty, even if it wasn't happening the way I'd expected.

And so I sobbed, I was totally undone! And I hugged him tighter. And cried some more. I felt devastated, and helpless, because this was MY choice, but it felt too soon. It felt too sudden. I felt like I was abandoning him. And he was bemused (and probably more than a little amused) by my sorrow.

"Aaawww, Mum, it'll be okay" HE reassured ME, and hugged me tight. In the end I had to tear myself away from my "baby boy" and get in the car, head to the airport, and fly far away.

What now?
It can still occasionally bring tears when I think of that moment, and I sometimes wonder if it affected my boy more than I know. Or if, on the other hand, my tendency-towards-catastrophizing mother's heart has blown it all out of proportion, and for him it was a sweet relief to FINALLY have the place to himself!! I suspect the latter is far more likely, but I like to think that he missed me, and still needed me. 

Even just a little bit.


  1. Sue, your story reminded me of my own experience of leaving home a number of years ago. The year that my oldest child was in grade twelve, I accepted a job in a different city, and postponed the start date to July 1, so that she could finish her year. When July came, instead of moving with me and my younger children, she was determined to stay in her home town, so she stayed on in the house which had not sold yet. The empty nest syndrome is heart-breaking, even when it is the mother, not the child, leaving the nest.


    1. So true Jude! Thanks for sharing your experience. I often feel that I get overly emotional when it comes to my kids, but the whole leaving home thing is fraught in the best of circumstances!! Thankfully my kids seem to have managed okay, and I'm sure yours will thrive too xx

  2. This brought tears to my eyes Sue - I absolutely HATE the idea that one day my daughter and I will no longer live together, even thought she is currently only 2 and it is a long way off! Your experience, while perhaps the other way around from the "norm" was still that moment when you realise your kids have all grown up and don't need you anymore (well, you know what I mean). I think that is a tough moment for any mother to deal with and I don't blame you for sobbing (even if your son thought it strange)! xox

    1. It's a tough stage of life for sure, but I think kids always still need you, at some level. It's just a change of dynamic, a shift, and then you move forward with the new "normal", whatever that looks like. It is a long way off for you, so enjoy your gorgeous girl and the years you have her in your home with you. Precious!


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