Kim's Blogs

When Your Boys Leave You


“For Andrew & Alex with an abundance of LOVE”


Love YOU, Andrew & Alex

Love YOU, Andrew & Alex

“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay.” —The Dalai Lama


When we arrive home from the hospital after delivering our first baby, I’m filled with anxiety. It must have shown on my face, sort of like that kid from the film, Home Alone. You know, the one who rubs aftershave on his cheeks, because my husband says,


“Kim, what’s wrong with you?”


I point to our baby, Andrew, who is curled up sleepily inside his crib and sigh loudly,


“Well, what are we supposed to do with him?”


We both begin to laugh.


I’m frightened, doubtful, and not ready to take care of a baby. I mean, this is a human being with a beating heart, tiny finger nails, and a soul for god’s sake. And he’s ours.


I think, how can they just send random people home with babies. That’s absurd.


Let’s just say, we learn quickly to change poopy diapers, walk the floors at all hours of the night, sleep with one eye open, and keep one boob exposed at all times.


When Andrew begins to walk, I position pillows throughout the house, so he can fall on something soft, secure.


“We need to buy more pillows,” I inform my husband. “We don’t have enough for the entire house.”


“He’s going to fall, he’s going to bump his head, he’s going to get boo-boos,” He says.


“That’s what babies do.”


Naturally, my husband is right. Andrew falls more times than he walks; and of course, never on the fluffy pillows I strategically place around the house.


I’m overprotective.


If someone has a cough or even a slight chill, I wont let them near my baby.


“Please don’t breathe on him.” I raise up my hand like a stop sign. “Could you stand 5 feet back, yes, 5 feet back? Thank you.”


::::::R O A R::::


This “overprotectiveness & obsessiveness” alters after my second baby is born.


For example, I recall a ( know-it-all) mother at MacDonald’s walking up to me- whispering ever-so-sweetly, annoyingly, self-righteously, “Madam, did you know your child is eating french fries off the floor?”


I look at her with a slender grin, “Well, Madam, he’s eaten much worse than that.”


Seriously, the kid’s consumed toilet paper, pennies, super-balls, cat food, and he’s still running around like a lunatic.


Things change. Anxiety fades. The earth revolves.


Or…at least that’s what I imagined.


Add 20-plus years to the equation.



Andrew calls me into the living room.


“Mom, I have something to tell you.”


My heart quickens. “Whaaat? Is everything okay? Are you going to tell me something good? Did something happen? Are you, I mean….”


“Yes,” he interrupts, “Everything’s okay.”


He smiles.


“I got a job.”


“Where?” I ask, excitedly, hopefully.


“San Francisco.”


I hesitate. Too long. My life flashing in pictures before me.


I run to hug, kiss, and congratulate him.


It’s all a lie.


He goes on the tell me that his younger brother, Alex, who can’t even make his own toast, is going with him.


I want to cry, scream. I want them back inside my womb, so I know where they are All. Day. Long—All. Night. Long.


I want to buy a million feathery pillows to scatter around their new crossings, their roads not taken, their future experiences.


I want. I want to…


Cushion them. Shield them from tragedy, failure, horrible people, terrorists, bombs, gun-violence, & breakups.


Lesson their falls.


But I know I can’t stop them from growing wings and flying away.


Intellectually, I know this. I damn well know this. I do.


Still, every now and then, I want to hold on and never let go.


—-Dear, Reader, is it hard for you to let go of the things you love?

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  • Reply
    Peta Kaplan
    July 25, 2016 at 8:02 am

    I love this post! The description of coming home with your first baby had me laughing out loud, but relating. I don’t particularly like other people’s babies, so when I was due to have my own (31 years ago) I was worried that I might not like him or her. Luckily, I fell in love with all three of my own babies, now grown young men!

    Such an interesting transition to go through, from full nest to empty nest. We sold our home, got rid of our possessions and moved to Nicaragua, Central America just a few weeks after our youngest son left for college. That certainly was an antidote to feeling empty, as I was starting a whole new adventure of my own.

    The good news is, the best years are still to come. I have to say that all the difficulties, challenges and sleepless nights with little ones, pays off and the enjoyment of grown children, living their lives as kind, thoughtful, passionate adults is all worth it !


  • Reply
    Peta Kaplan
    July 25, 2016 at 8:02 am

    I love the Dalai Lama quote.

  • Reply
    July 25, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Oh, Kim, how wonderful that your two young men were raised with roots and wings! Darling, you did it RIGHT!! I know, ’tis awful hard to let them go. Been there, done that. And trust me, it doesn’t get easier either. But still…we have to look on the bright side. Much better they’re gainfully employed and finding their way in this world, rather than living in your basement and playing video games all day long. AND, how cool that you and hubby have an interesting new place to visit!! xx

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 26, 2016 at 10:02 am

      yeah, we’ve already been there ( RIGHT AWAY)
      And I get what you said about the basement and video games! FUNNY. xxx

      • Reply
        July 27, 2016 at 7:27 am

        P.S. Domer said you shouldn’t worry. He said they’ll be gone five years…tops. He said Minnesotans might have to see other places, but no way do they want to be away from HOME long! Take heart, my friend!!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    July 25, 2016 at 9:34 am

    haha…you sound exactly like my mom…I had to laugh when you asked your hubby what to do with Andrew…

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 26, 2016 at 10:03 am

      no matter the age, we are still and always MAMAS”!!

  • Reply
    Lisa Gordon
    July 25, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Oh, dear Kim, you have no idea how I can identify with this.

    This is so bittersweet. For me, at first, it was mostly bitter, but I held it inside, because I knew my son was doing what made him happy, and what he felt was best for him and his future plans. Of course, he was right, but oh my goodness, it was painful for me. I won’t kid you, it still is, especially when I visit, or he is home for a visit, and then must go back (to Boston)., and it’s been just about 7 years now.

    However, ultimately it falls into perspective, and you look upon them with so much pride, that your heart could burst, but….as my husband says (quite a bit!)…”The cord is still attached.” Indeed it is.

    Hang in there, sweet friend. They need to do what they need to do. xo.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 26, 2016 at 10:05 am

      The cord is still attached,
      but wings must FLY!
      It just happens so fast.
      How are you? xx

  • Reply
    Liz Mays
    July 25, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I can’t even tell you how many tears I shed when my babies flew the nest. What I didn’t expect is to have them back with me later. One is in the nest and one lives 5 minutes from the nest… so you never know…

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 26, 2016 at 10:06 am

      I just want them closer.
      Minnesota is WAY TOO far away from California.
      Damn. xx

  • Reply
    Red Dwyer
    July 25, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    You did AWESOME!

  • Reply
    July 25, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    You’ve done a great job, Kim. I’ve watched mine stumble and fall, leave and return, stumble some more and, ultimately, find their true love and passions. It’s painful but, rewarding. Now it’s time for mama to spread her wings and devote more time to what makes her happy. It’s your time now.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 26, 2016 at 10:07 am

      Dear, b,
      I like your perspective on life.
      Perhaps I’m afraid to spread my wings! xx

  • Reply
    Dawn in MI
    July 25, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    I didn’t have kids. But I can tell you my parents missed us (all 4 of us) after we left, but went on to have great adventures of their own. And while they loved when we visited, and when they visited us, they were also very happy in their own space. You’ll be like that too in time. Meanwhile SF is a fabulous place to visit!

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 26, 2016 at 10:08 am

      Yes, we’ve visited and it was FABULOUS.
      My fave. part was just spending quality time w/ my boys, eating, talking, loving. Are you well? xx

  • Reply
    nan @ lbddiaries
    July 25, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I’d been praying up a storm for a few years before Josh left that I would NOT have horrid empty-nest syndrome or a hard time cutting those apron strings when the time came for him to move out. I think I was super bummed out for about two weeks, slapped myself upside the head, turned around and saw Leland and said, “Helloooo baby!” We began a new adventure without a kid around the house and I must say, it’s been wonderful.

    Josh had a few crash and burns but we were there for him. He found his feet and now, at 33, he is doing great and loves coming to visit us (as opposed to not wanting to be anywhere near us) – all because I was able to let him go gracefully (well, outwardly). We have an AMAZING relationship with him and the changes are wonderful. He’s a good friend to his dad and loves hanging out. It is such a special relationship now, I’m so glad I was able to let him fly… and continually talk to his angels to keep him safe!

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 26, 2016 at 10:08 am

      YES, Nan,
      I PRAY A LOT!
      all day long, darling. xx

  • Reply
    Elephant's Child
    July 25, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    This childless crone wonders how any parent can let them go. No matter how right it is.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 26, 2016 at 10:09 am

      Dear, s,
      at least I still have my stupid cat!! xx

  • Reply
    Debra Reilly
    July 25, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Oh yes! I won’t be around forever and I’ve been so hard on Marc! Actually taught him how to use the toaster a couple years ago!! Lol! I wanted to make sure I did my last bit of parenting. I’ve now come to my senses and am enjoying every moment with them all! Marc starts college for law enforcement August 22nd and he’ll have his own apartment by then! He’ll be ok! As long as he likes toast!
    I love you Kim

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 26, 2016 at 10:09 am

      excited for Marcus to begin school! FAB!!! xxxx Luv U

  • Reply
    lisa thomson-The Great Escape...
    July 25, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    OMGosh, Yes!

    I had to let go a little earlier than most (hardest thing I ever had to do)—long story. Suffice to say our relationship is the better for it and we’re very close yet live geographically apart. I know exactly how you feel, Kim. My son has hinted at living clear across the country and i told him I do not give him my blessing. He responded with well, you could fly out…right. No way, you’re not moving across the country, falling in love and getting married there. I won’t have my grandchildren that far away. He looked at me like I’m crazy–which I partially am. LOL.

    I loved your description of the feathery pillows. Exactly, we want to cushion their fall forever. xoxoxo

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 26, 2016 at 10:10 am

      let’s spread those pillows around the earth together!! xxxx

  • Reply
    Kim Gagnon
    July 25, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    I worry about my boys and they’re in town! We’re moms forever!! Together soon !! Lots to catch up on!! Love you💋

  • Reply
    July 25, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Oxox💋 love you 😊

  • Reply
    Balroop Singh
    July 25, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Oh!! very well articulated Kim, exactly my sentiments! I started writing about emotions after my girls soared away to touch the horizon. Love and hugs. 🙂 Welcome to the gang…letting go comes with great difficulty.

  • Reply
    July 25, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    This is perfect timing. My son announced last Thursday that he got the job in Sacramento that he had applied for and is moving in two week. Two weeks? It feels like a stab to my heart. I am so incredibly sad and have never felt more alone. Thank you for reminding me that it’s okay. This is supposed to happen and that somehow, as bad as I feel, I’m not alone. Can we hang out??

  • Reply
    July 25, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    Dear Kim, letting go and see your sons/children thrive can never be easy and I loved reading your post, you make me laugh and sad at the same time and I know that your wonderful boys will be more than fine because you and your hubby did a fantastic job with both your sons – you are truly amazing!!!
    Many hugs and kisses and love,

  • Reply
    Elisabeth Kinsey
    July 26, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Kim– why do I always need tissue when I read you! Geez. Yes- I don’t have children but sure, I have anxiety. Love the pillow idea. Can we do such a thing? I’m anxious before I even have children. Anxious that I won’t be able to adopt. Anxious that…everything you said in your post.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 26, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      everything, all of the anxiety…
      Is. Worth. It.
      Darling. xxx

  • Reply
    July 26, 2016 at 8:59 am

    It is hard. Very very hard. So hard that I am so scared of loving or showing love. I fear the loss so badly that I prefer to stay distant.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 26, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      Don’t stay distant.
      We all need you, my dear, Nikky. xxxxxx

  • Reply
    Julie Gardner
    July 26, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    My firstborn is moving to Oregon in September and his sister plans to follow him September of 2017.
    I still picture them holding hands crossing the kindergarten blacktop.

    (I hope they’ll still be there for each other in Oregon. I have to believe they will be. Good job, mama, raising kids who have each other’s backs…)

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 26, 2016 at 4:23 pm

      I couldn’t believe that they both left “ME” at the same time.
      I needed to mourn double time.
      ….yet, I know they are flying.
      and I shall see them on Mon. in London! OOOOOOOOO, can’t wait. xxxxx

  • Reply
    July 26, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Kim, you inspire me. Letting go is the most glorious and simultaneously painful undertaking we humans face day in and day out. I have a couple of years before my girls go off to embrace the world but boy am I anxious every time I think of it. I remember those days when I rushed to protect them from just about everything. I still do. My oldest has life threatening food allergies. I know how you feel, but what an amazing mama you are. You did it right. On the bright side of things.. if you come to San Francisco, we must meet – now wouldn’t that be grand?

  • Reply
    July 26, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    Letting go always comes with difficulty, though I’ve never had to say goodbye to a child. I can imagine that is the hardest to do. Parenting is that mix of wanting to keep your children close, but also wanting to let them free to experience life on their own.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 26, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      it’s a double edged sword.
      You want them to fly, but at the same time,
      you want to clip their wings ( slightly )!! xx

  • Reply
    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother
    July 26, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    My heart hurts for you. It is so very difficult to let them fly from the nest, but if we don’t, how will they ever learn to spread their wings and soar?

  • Reply
    Sakura Beauty
    July 26, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    My heart hurts for you. Thank you for reminding me that it’s okay. Can we hang out??

  • Reply
    July 27, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Unconditional Mother Love! You did the best most amazing job with your boys!
    Hugs and kisses to you from SA.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 27, 2016 at 7:31 am

      Sending love back to you, darling, to South Africa.
      Thinking about you. xx

  • Reply
    Bernie Burnham
    July 27, 2016 at 6:04 am

    Once again you write what so many of us feel. As Meg prepares to leave after being home for a month, I have so many emotions inside and there are moments I have to work to keep the tears hidden from her,. I don’t always do this successfully! And occasionally after talking to Carly on the phone, the tears fall then as well. But! I am so proud of the women they!ve become and as someone posted earlier my wings have spread to this new journey, new phase of life, it is glorious and my bucket list continues to grow. Life is meant to be lived and wherever they are I shall travel to spend moments and make memories with them. Hugs to you Kim

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 27, 2016 at 7:32 am

      Beautiful, empowering words, Bernie.
      The wings. I’m just growing them back! xxx

  • Reply
    Carrie Rubin
    July 27, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Powerful post, Kim. As a mother of two sons, one 16 and the other 19, I feel your words thoroughly. But I guess this is what we prepare them for, right? Doesn’t make it any easier though. Best of luck with things.

  • Reply
    Charlene Ross
    July 27, 2016 at 11:17 am

    The answer is YES! It’s so freaking hard. But also right. (Dammit!) I try to remind myself with Chandler so far away the happiness I feel for him is greater than the sadness I feel for me. (Sometimes I even believe it!)

    And THIS: “He goes on the tell me that his younger brother, Alex, who can’t even make his own toast, is going with him.” OMG! I love this so much. But I bet Alex has learned to make toast by now. And probably some other things. And as hard as it is, you know they are both going to be fine. And you are too, my friend. Believe it! (And keep the Merlot handy!) 🙂

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 27, 2016 at 11:54 am

      we are in the same club, girlfriend!
      Wish we could drink Merlot together.
      Btw, Alex is the one who cooks at the house. WTF? xxxx

  • Reply
    Gary Sidley
    July 28, 2016 at 3:38 am

    Ah, the bitter-sweet feeling of our children leaving home. As always, your eloquence does justice to the experience.
    Your differing responses to your 1st and 2nd child reminded me of that joke:
    How do you react when you discover your baby/toddler eating soil in the back garden?
    1st born – panic, and rush them to the emergency room, fearing the worst
    2nd born – remove the soil, wash the mouth & closely observe for any after effects
    3rd born – wonder if the soil will suffice in lieu of the evening meal

    As young adults, it is tough when they move on to independence – I’ve shed a tear more than once at the departure of my two beauties.

    Lovely post. Take care.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 28, 2016 at 6:25 am

      Thanks for your thoughts, Gary.
      It’s weird, isn’t it?
      I mean, the silence? x

  • Reply
    Chris Carter
    July 28, 2016 at 9:41 am

    OH precious friend, how I adore this. I LOVE that you wrote about your beloved boys!! I know one day I will be walking in the living room awaiting the news too… sigh.

    **I want to buy a million feathery pillows to scatter around their new crossings, their roads not taken, their future experiences.

    I want. I want to…

    Cushion them. Shield them from tragedy, failure, horrible people, terrorists, bombs, gun-violence, & breakups.

    Lesson their falls.

    But I know I can’t stop them from growing wings and flying away.** <—– YES THIS. Soooooo beautiful.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 28, 2016 at 9:49 am

      Life is SO damn HARD…
      And I find it AMAZING the way light continually overpowers the darkness.
      No matter what.
      God Lives. xxxx

  • Reply
    Valentine Logar
    July 28, 2016 at 9:49 am

    This made me laugh, aloud and with tears at the same time. My sons moved away. They flew, they grew wings. Then I moved away, far away. Then when I had the chance to come back home to Texas I wanted to go really home but they were in a different part of the state and they said…..

    Moooom don’t you want to live nearby? Don’t you want to see us more often? We might get married someday. We might have babies and stuff.

    So I moved closer, within range. The circle, well it widens and then it shrinks again. It is a grand dance.

    I love you.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 28, 2016 at 10:44 am

      OOO, how I love your words, Val.
      Such joy!
      Love you, too. xx

  • Reply
    Hotly Spiced
    July 28, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Such a great post. This is exactly how it is as a mother. And why is there always some self-righteous fool wanting to be condescending rather than uplifting??? If your boys are ready to spread their wings and leave the nest then you have done a wonderful job in raising them. Although it certainly doesn’t make it any easier. Best wishes to you at this time of transition xx

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 29, 2016 at 5:42 pm

      Thanks, Charlie!
      I just want to clip the wings ( a little ) ! xx

  • Reply
    Minnesota Prairie Roots
    July 29, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    I can 100 percent relate to this post. When my son decided he needed to transfer from North Dakota State to Tufts University in Boston, I almost died. But, like you, I managed to slap on a happy face. It took time to fully adjust and there are still days when I miss him like crazy, when I want nothing more than to wrap my warms around his lanky frame. But I realize Tufts was where he needed to be, to be at a university that really challenged him.

    And then when he was moving toward graduation, I thought, oh, good, he will return to Minnesota, or maybe even the Midwest. But I knew in my heart that he would stay on the East Coast and he did. This week he started his new job in research for a prestigious research facility. How can I be anything but happy for him?

    I understand your feelings. I’ve lived them. I still do. Call or email and we can commiserate together. It will get easier, dear Kim. Truly, it will.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      July 29, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      Yes, we can begin a support group for “Moms who find it extremely hard to let go!”
      I am happy…
      but also, lonely for the simple things…
      like seeing them in the flesh for Sunday Dinner. xxx KISS from Here.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2016 at 4:05 am

    I suppose they become their own people as we did in our time but it is hard and yet you proud with the same breath

  • Reply
    Caroline Abbott
    August 2, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    I had three children. I happily sent my first two off to college without a tear. When I remarried, and my youngest, age 16 refused to live with me any longer because my husband and MANY kids were moving into our house, I cried like a baby nightly for months. To me, it was hardest because it was unexpected, and too soon. Maybe that’s why this hit you too hard. You might have expected one to go, but not two at the same time! My heart is with you my friend.

  • Reply
    August 3, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Oh, Kim. I spied the title of this post in my feed and couldn’t bring myself to read it right away. I’m a few years behind you, but the first one heading to college is wreaking havoc on my heart. Your boys (both of them!) are going to be fine, and you will be too. Hugs to you. xoxo

  • Reply
    Carrie Reimer
    August 5, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Oh Kim, I know exactly what you are feeling and could relate so well. Do I find it hard to let go of “things” I love, no! Do I still find it hard to let go of my boy, a resounding YES!! and he is 32 years old!
    I was like you, I actually would put a mirror to his face while he slept to make sure he was still alive. I would pretend to be heading to the bathroom but sneak into his room and as I slowly pushed the door open my husband’s voice would come from the living room, “Let the kid sleep! he’s fine!!”
    I was the mom under the monkey bars with arms outstretched in case he fell. If he was with anyone but me I worried until he was safe in my sight again. One time my brother took him fishing across the border into the states, the line up coming back was so bad they were stuck for hours trying to get back across the border. This was before cell phones so my brother walked miles to get to a pay phone to call me and tell me they were ok. By the time I heard from him I had called all the hospitals between home and where they were going, the highway patrol, all the police depts. and had worn a hole in the carpet from pacing.
    I remember wanting to hold onto his ankles to stop him from leaving when I sensed he was in danger. Just last year he and I spent the whole day together and had a wonderful time, laughed, cried, and I helped him pack, he was moving away again. I put on a brave front, hugged him and left him on his boat. (he asked for a little alone time before he hit the road) I could not leave him though so I parked up at the corner of his street and waited to watch him drove past, crying. No one would know, right? Well, guess who parks right beside me about 20 minutes later!
    “Mom? what are you doing sitting here?” I didn’t even answer, just shrugged and he gave me a hug.
    When he was only about 2 years old we started a tradition that we carry on to this day when we say goodbye. (Now it is saved for when he goes a long ways from home, not every time we say goodbye) “I love you, I’ll miss you, but I won’t cry,” and of course it makes me cry every time!!
    You are not alone Kim. I don’t think I will ever get used to saying good bye or wanting to protect my baby boy, but I stand back and let him spread his wings.
    One thing though, they never stop needing their momma. My son still calls every time he is upset or concerned about something, every time he has a date with a new woman, every time he has a great day at work, when he needs to know how to cook something. And every single time it feels so good to know my boy still needs his momma.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Welp, this one hit me right in the feels today <3

    I don't have kiddos… but I can imagine this. And what a wonderful momma you are to your babies. LOL at "well, he's eaten worse." and you know, he made it just fine with those off-the-floor french fries 🙂 Your writing is beautiful here. Thank you so much for sharing and I wish your son all the best in the road ahead. He'll do great things because you have given him all the tools he needs to thrive.


  • Reply
    August 14, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Yes yes yes – I feel and understand you!

  • Reply
    Kristi R Campbell
    August 14, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    OMG I get this – my son is seven and I know that I will never want to let him go. So huge love to you. He’ll be okay, because he has you as a mom <3

  • Reply
    Sandra Garth
    August 17, 2016 at 8:38 am

    I totally get this Kim. We have five kids, the oldest is 44 and the youngest turns 34 next week. I still want to fight their battles, kiss their boo-boos and keep them safe and warm. I guess it comes with the territory. Hold tight to the feeling that they’ll be safe and protected no matter where they are.

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