Another Punctuation Mark in the Sentence of Life

two speech balloons, one with an a questionmar...

The suitcase is almost packed and sits open on the floor beside some last treasured books that may (or may not) fit. Passport and other important documents are laid out, the most important pieces to the trip. He checked in online and now it’s just a matter of waiting and last-minute pieces.

My youngest is leaving home.

It’s one more punctuation mark in my life – not a comma, not a semicolon, not a question mark, but a fat exclamation mark typed in Boldface font and repeated for emphasis.

He is the surprise that marked my 35th year of life. He is the blithe spirit who only recently came into his own. He is the one who chides me when I walk too fast. He is the one who loves being served coffee in bed. He is the one who knows just when to hug all the others in the family. He is the baby. 

And he will go to my favorite terminal and board a flight for London tonight at 7:25 pm for a take-off at 8:05 pm. His destination is Oxford where he will read a lot of books, walk hallowed halls and hopefully have some fish and chips in the process.

It is exciting. This is his time — time to learn more on his own, to budget a meager allowance, to not be served coffee in bed. So we’ll hug hard and tight, pray harder, and send him off to a world that needs blithe, a world that could use more hugs. a world that doesn’t always have exclamation points.

I’ve had commas and dashes, ampersands and a lot of question marks in my life, but every time one of my kids leaves it’s an exclamation mark and today is no exception.

So Jonathan – Goodbye and Godspeed.

22 thoughts on “Another Punctuation Mark in the Sentence of Life

  1. Wow Marilyn, This was so well written. I love who you are. I remember being at your shower and hearing the surprising news of his expectancy. You were only 35- wow! So mature and wise..


    1. this is such a kind comment Paulette! I well remember that day! And I well remember having you in Egypt for that time – it was such a gift to me. Remember when Cliff and I scared all the students when we inappropriately told “April Dawn” stories?! So many good memories with you and now look at you?! the best mom ever!


  2. We have seven children, ages 50 down to 28. Each time one of them left the nest, we also experienced the adventure. To this day, we enjoy and rejoice with each of them, (some very far from our retiremtnet home), wherever they are and in whatever they are doing and being.


  3. Godspeed, Jonathan! I believe you will truly savor this experience, drawing in every sight, sound, feeling and holding them in your heart for later stories (like Frederick the mouse in a favorite children’s book). Frederick was blithe too, and his spirit warmed the long winter days. Your parents will miss you so (Marilyn, you and Cliff are in my prayers too!), but I know how very much they are cheering you on!


  4. God bless and go with you, Jonathan, and before you, too. We know He does. This is our youngest grandchild, and I ask myself, where did the years go, and how did they go so quickly? Love and prayers for you and Cliff, Marilyn. But after the hugs and tears, that empty nest isn’t so bad! And they do come back, but it’s never quite the same. Somehow they do grow up and away.


  5. Hey Jonathan – welcome to England! Get your mum to give you my phone number and call if you need anything. I am only 40 miles up the road xxx


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