Funny thing about launching our kids - raising them to leave is like a losing piece of your heart and watching it walk off in someone else's body.

The truth about launching our kids

Ruthie Parenting 5 Comments

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Funny thing about launching our kids - raising them to leave is like a losing piece of your heart and watching it walk off in someone else's body.

Photo credit: ©


Grief.  That’s what I’m feeling this morning.  Please allow me to wallow once again. 

Mamas, don’t ever let anyone tell you that once your kid leaves, you grieve for a season and then its over.

True lies.

I know, I know.  You’re tired of hearing me whine about my kids leaving home. 

It’s where I am.  Please allow me this.  

“Well, at least you still have one at home.” 

“At least you have Sawyer (number one grandson).” 

“At least your oldest lives in the same town.”  

Thanks, but it’s not the same.

They ALL lived with me at one point in life.  For most of my life, actually. 

I’ve grieved for each of them. 


The reality of launching our kids

The oldest has been married for three years – I did my grieving during her college tenure.  Once she married and I knew she was happy (and the next town over), I was good.

My son is gone.  He’s off in Tennessee living his dream, serving the Lord in his church, attending University of Tennessee, playing jazz and loving life.  Working. 

I’ve come to grips with it finally – but not without tears every time he visits. (Well, not when he visits – after he leaves.)



My daughter left yesterday for her summer ministry. 

Do you know how long a summer ministry is?  All summer.  She’ll return one week before her senior year of college begins. 

My eyes are leaking.




Did I mention she’s visiting Texas, Missouri, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Ohio?  In that order?!    

Funny thing about kids – raising them to leave is like a losing piece of your heart and watching it walk off in someone else’s body. 

Every time they go, it’s similar to ripping open a flesh wound.  Exposing it raw, the pain resurfacing.

I always struggle that first full day without them. 

Jim usually finds me snuffling in a corner, trying to hide my tears.


Rearing our kids to leave is like a losing piece of your heart and watching it walk off in someone else's body. Click To Tweet



Marlin Syndrome

Sawyer is addicted to “Finding Nemo”

I taught him the song “B-I-N-G-O” (there was a farmer had a dog and BINGO was his name – O).  As he attempted the chorus with me, I realized he was singing, “Nemo was his name – O.”

As Nemo played for the third time this morning, through my tears, I recognized my character in that movie. 

I always thought I was Dory, because I literally forget everything ASAP. 

Once, after dropping my son off for ball practice, I asked him a question.  In the car. After I pulled away. 

He did not answer.  I asked him again, louder. 

The car was full of chattering kids, and my friend (and partner in crime) Beth, riding shot gun,  looked at me as if to say, “Are you serious, or are you just working on early dementia?”  

She had to break the news to me.

You might have too many kids if…

Anyway, turns out – I’m Marlin.  (Nemo’s over anxious dad.)


Are you like Nemo's over-anxious dad, scared to let your kids go near the drop-off? Click To Tweet



I’m so afraid for my kids. 

It’s a big blue sea out there, and all I want is for them to be safe and happy.

I’ve launched them, they are moving on with their lives, but oh, how I wish I could oversee them for the rest of it, just like when they were little. 

I don’t want anything to happen to them.


“You can’t never let anything happen to him – then nothing would ever happen to him.  Not much fun for little Harpo.”


Oh, how I wish I could shelter them from any pain, emotional, physical, or otherwise. 

If I could just put a gate around them, like when they were little (we had a device called a “play pen” back in the archaic early ’90’s).



“Let us see what Squirt can do.”


And then, Squirt gets swept away in the EAC.  It looks like he’s a goner, but he resurfaces, having learned how to swim that current on his own. 

The current of life.

I cry some more.


“How do you know when they’re ready?” 


Marlin poses the question to the turtle dad named “Crush”. 


“Well dude, you never really know, but when they know, you’ll know – ya know?”


I think they know. 


Launching our kids doesn’t get easier

They know they’re ready.  They’re more than prepared. 

I’ve been having them wash their own laundry for years. 

I taught them how to look both ways before crossing the street. 

How to speak to adults, hold an intelligent conversation, make decisions, cook, clean, stay away from drugs, and never eat raw eggs.

I’ve taught them the Word, they know, they seek, and now they serve.  Of their own free will.

What am I worried about?  I’ve given them the most valuable tool of all – a relationship with the Lord of the Universe.  Who loves them more than I ever could.

Yes, there is the unknown.  They could get hurt.  Or worse.  But they know their destiny.  They know where they’re headed. 

They are confident of this very thing.



And so, I know all this.  I believe all this.  I am sure of all this.

Oh, how we squeezed the life out of May – we always do.  It’s our chance to have a full month with the whole family while Hayley is home. 

We camped in the Smokies, built campfires in the backyard, soaked up Sawyer time, the whole family slept under one roof one night, grandparents were visited, favorite meals prepared.  We did all the things on her list.

But just let me grieve. 

I’ll be better tomorrow – I always am. 

It’s a process.  You know – the 5 stages.  I’m already sensing the fog lifting.  My friend Christi said I could ride her camel to the oasis.  She has a second hump. 

I’m going to be ok. 

If you’re a mom traveling this same road, you’re going to be ok too.

One step at a time. 


If you're going through the launching process too, you're going to make it, one step at a time. Click To Tweet


Let us see what Squirt can do.


 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39


Funny thing about launching our kids - raising them to leave is like a losing piece of your heart and watching it walk off in someone else's body.


Photo credit: ©


Top 10 tips to rearing a confident young man



I’ve created my Top Ten Tips for Rearing a Confident Young Man, and I’d love for you to take advantage of it!

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If you feel you need more specific direction or prayer, I’d love to hear from you.  You can contact me here.


I’ve also written a guest post on Four tips to keeping your son accountable if your son is in the middle school years and beyond.  Full of wisdom for keeping a sharp eye on what your son is up to and how to wisely steer him and remain a part of his life.  We implemented these four tips regularly.



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This Christmas! 5 Secret Strategies to keep your marriage thriving!

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Thanks, and may you experience Christ’s presence in the little things this season.




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Comments 5

  1. Ruthie, what a great article! My boys are 12, 9, and 6 and I want nothing more than for them to love Jesus and “launch” successfully (whatever success looks like!). In my short 12 years as a parent the only things I’ve learned is that this parenting thing comes in seasons. Thanks so much for shedding a little light on the next season to come to my house..after the teenage year’s season.

    1. Post

      YES! Capturing joy in the transitions of parenthood! The teenage years didn’t even turn out bad (in fact, they were my favorite)! We are all just trying to find our way, but together, we can hold each other to the truths of God’s word and help each other along! Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer!

  2. I appreciated reading this. My oldest is almost seventeen, so I’m not there yet, but I can see that the launching process is quickly approaching. I need reassurance from moms like you that it’s going to be okay- and also that it’s normal to grieve. I had a trial run one summer ago, when my daughter left to study ballet in Chicago for a summer. Those are some intense emotions that come when you have to say goodbye! I was so proud of her, though, and it gave both of us confidence, that when the time really does come, she’ll be okay.

    1. Post

      This is by far my favorite post of all time. It describes perfectly where I’m at in life. And YES – it’ll be here before you know it! You are preparing your daughter now, with those little goodbyes, for the BIG one. It’ll come, and it’ll be hard, but God will be right there with you and her. And I know you’re doing your job of teaching her independence, which is so SO fundamental to her survival!

  3. Pingback: 5 reasons you should let your child quit piano lessons

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