Its nearly time for children to head off to school. Some will travel across the street to kindergarten and others will pack the car and drive across the country to start college. In each instance, parents’ hearts will be torn by the truth of transition and seared by the sting of separation. This hit me the hardest when my oldest son left for college and dragged a big chunk of my heart behind his car all the way to Florida. By the time son #2 departed to launch his educational career, I’d like to say that it got easier…but it didn’t. And…it shouldn’t.

God puts families together and allows us to feel life’s most powerful emotions through the course of our time together. It should hurt some when children leave. Not a crippling, unhealthy, codependent hurt, but rather a deep, bitter sweet ache that let’s us know how special our time with them really was.

A number of years ago, I was pondering this amazing paradox of separation when I wrote the following poem about watching our kids grow and then leave the nest.

Moms and dads, let me know if you can relate…

I Wish My House Was Bigger

Oh, I wish my house was bigger
There’s always too much noise
from my cat and dog and daughter,
but mostly from three young boys…

Oh, I wish my house was bigger
For a parent, work never ends
There’s crumpled clothes and dirty dishes,
and younger brothers to defend…

From the day that they all got here
They’ve really changed my life
No longer is there time for me to just enjoy my wife
These little ones are so much work
There’s no shortage of new chores.
They laugh and cry and shout and pout
and beg for “just once more…”

The times I used to hunt or fish
are replaced by “Hey dad, know what I wish???”
Some nights I think what life would be, if I was on my own;
no shattered windows, no broken bikes, just enjoying life alone

Yes, I wish my house was bigger
There is still way too much noise
from two cats, a dog and daughter
but mostly from three growing boys.

The bills keep getting higher
as the price of toys goes up
We no longer shop for Legos;
now, it’s cars, and expensive stuff
And, their friends show up on weekends
loud as they can be
Oh, I wish my house bigger
and there was much more room for me…

You know a strange thing happened
just the other day
My last child left for college
and there was still much left to say
Now, my house is clean and spotless
But it’s quiet as a tomb
And I strain to hear their laughter
as I wander room to room.

Now, I wish my house was smaller
and all my kids were near
I’d gladly trade the mess they made
for the joy they once brought here

Sure, now I’ve time for fishing
but it’s really not the same
There’s no hooks to bait, no chocolate milk
and no long drive, guessing games…

Lord, I wish my house was smaller
and I could somehow, some way feel
the closeness of my children
and my heart could somehow heal

Brian D. Molitor
Sept. 2006