About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. Robin,
    There must be something about the produce section. I remember longing for the day when I could go to the grocery store by myself. I imagined it would be heaven to not have two little ones touching, wanting, fussing, fighting. Then my youngest went off to all day kindergarten and I lost it, as well, in the produce section. I remember grieving when my youngest went off to college. I looked at his sparse, but nonetheless clean, room that had been evacuated and the tears rolled. A pastor friend once said there are three stages to child rearing: The Control Stage – when you can literally pick them up and put them in time out. The Influence Stage – when you can have conversations about life and model what it’s like to be a responsible adult and to love the Lord. And then finally The Prayer Stage. I think, for me, this is the hardest because it means, more or less, I no longer have control. I’ve influenced and now they are going to make their own decisions (right or wrong). My job now is to Pray and believe me, pray I do. Parenting adult children is hard. Yes, there’s freedom, but they also now get to have adult-sized problems. I can’t fix it or make it better or easier and so I continue to lift them up on the altar before the Lord. They were His children before they were ever mine, after all. Great post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev,

      I feel like I’m going to need to hug everyone who comments today…consider it done in my heart :). Wonderful perspective to keep in mind–they were and always are His. I remember hearing, “When you’re children are young the step on your toes; when they grow up they step on your heart.” Aren’t there a thousand ways our heart feels their pain? xoxo

    • Bev, I absolutely love what you said, “they were God’s children before they were ours.”
      Amen ❤️

  2. My current season involves the baby of the family getting his license. I had no idea how much I had enjoyed all the crazy running from point A to point B in this homeschooling life. So . . . on Saturday we did errands together and made a bit more progress on our audio book, but I have a sinking sensation that this will be our last shared, 12 cd listening experience. Feeling a little tender today, myself, Robin, so thanks for passing the tissue box.

    • {{Hugs}} Michele,

      It’s funny; I remember looking forward to the days they could do this or that…and now I find myself LOVING DOING LAUNDRY when my youngest comes home from college. He knows it, too, lol, and appreciates it more than he ever did when he was at home all the time (though I made sure to teach him how to do his own long before he left….).

  3. As so often with your posts Robin, the words go straight to my heart and yes, my tears come.
    I have a 19 and a 16 year old. One at college, one at prep school. The changes, the letting go, the joy of relearning who they are whenever they come home, the pain of letting them go at the airport once again…
    It’s all so tender. We are so blessed to be mothers.

    • {{{{Shelly}}}}

      You’re such an encourager…thank you. I love how you said, “…the joy of relearning who they are…” Perfect words to describe what I call “reentry.” It is so tender…and yes, we are blessed. xoxo

  4. Robin, Thank you so much for sharing this. Yes, I can relate to your post. I only have one child so every first with her was also our last. My daughter graduated from high school 4 months after my Mom passed away in 2015. Our beloved family dog had passed away 2 months before her graduation. It was a series of losses to be mourned. The only way I somehow made it through, was with prayer. God put people in my life that comforted my breaking heart. Faith with loving memories are slowly filling the cracks. Just one month ago our daughter left to study in Japan for the next 3 months. Its not easy, but I know if the Lord could get me through 2015, He will do so again.
    So I’m sending you a hug and will gladly accept one as well! ❤

    • Oh, Kathleen…{{{BEAR HUGS}}}}

      I’ve found so often in midlife (mine and friends) that it’s not one thing, it’s MANY things that impact us in this season of life. Hard, grown-up things, and we DO need others to encourage and love on us. I’m so thankful we have scripture, too; is there anything better than when the perfect verse finds its way to our hearts?

      I don’t know if this will be of value to you, but a few years ago my daughter spent a summer internship in the Philippines and I sent her a box of love notes; maybe it’s something you’d like to do for your baby girl (if you haven’t already done something like it?): https://aws.incourage.me/2015/06/love-notes.html

      • Robin,
        Thank you so very much for the wonderful Bear Hugs-definitely needed! I’m so grateful for your posts and your prayers. I love that you did that for your daughter, and I do have something like that in mind- great momma minds….
        Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

  5. They are God’s children and we can pray they are safe and happy. We gave them roots – now we give them wings. They will certainly fly – we hope they soar but we pray they always remember that their nest is never too far away for a fly-in.

  6. Ah this went straight to my heart! I’m about to experience graduation for the first time, of my twins!! Double the emotion!! This writing was a great encouragement to me. Thank you!

    • Hugs to you, TiredAndTrusting <3.

      I have a friend who sent her twins not too long ago, and in one fell swoop, two of her three were gone. It IS a double whammy that I can only imagine. Those of us who've gone before are lifting up those who come behind, with great expectation and much love. xo

  7. This poignant piece has provided balm for a lot of tender spots. It’s taken almost two years since the graduation for me to feel like I’ve comfortably let go of my oldest. I was never one to hold on to the milestones. I was always excited for her to move on – from preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school. I was even excited and thrilled for graduation, but some of that was because we just needed to be done. Senioritis is a real thing. Knowing we did what we could, but still seeing the things we should have done better had been humbling. My other child will graduate next year, God willing. That journey that has been indescribable. This has given me perspective. Thank you.

    • MJ,

      You touched on several things that didn’t find their way into this post (Senioritis IS a thang, seeing things we could have done better….). It is blessing to me and all glory to God if this post have inspired perspective; thank you for letting us know. When our roles shift (as moms), it isn’t an overnight thing for our hearts; we’ve spent all those years being the boss of them (so to speak), and now they have so much freedom. I think it does take our hearts a little longer to catch up with our heads.

      ((hugs)) to you in those tender places <3

  8. Reading your words took me back. It has been 19 yrs since my son graduated from high school and 14 since college. My grandson graduated from kindergarten last year. I was there again with your words with wisdom you spoke to my heart to every season. GOD’S grace is in those tears. Thank you for a tender moment to share such a time as He prepares us to experience
    Blessings
    Diane

  9. This devotion brings back so many good memories. I remember reminding myself so many times what I had heard James Dobson say…from the time you bring that baby home from the hospital you are preparing them to fly from the nest. And, how hard it is, but so rewarding also. And when they decide to build their own nest miles and miles away in another place you want to snatch them back. But, you are so proud they are independent and following God’s will.

    • L,

      My baby girl lives across the country from me, transplanted to a place (and job) she loves. S i g h … I know exactly what you mean about wanting to snatch them AND being so proud… <3

  10. I spent my eldest’s senior year mourning all the “lasts” and truly struggling about the loss of my baby boy to a wonderful college right down the road. When he returned home three semesters later, depressed and broken, to attend the local state university and rebuild his life, my perspective shifted. Mamas, we WANT them to fly! My daughter and last-born is preparing to graduate high school now and I have a whole different take on things. I’m so excited for her. She’s ready. And for both my kids, I have the same prayer: Lord, let them walk in your light. Give them strength and let them be whole and happy. Let them be freely yours. I’ve had my share of produce department tears – I remember specifically doing that when the youngest went to school full days – but I’ll not be mourning her loss now. I’ll be celebrating her wings!

    • Kerry,

      What a lovely (though hard at times) story of coming full circle. Thank you for encouraging our little (in)courage family. I know your words will bless others like you.

  11. Robin,
    What a sweet post, and a wonderful outlook to have……..While it might not be easy, (letting go), by trusting they will be in good hands, is a gift not only to them, but to us as well.
    Have a blessed day all,
    Penny

  12. My current season, unfortunately, involves watching my only daughter suffer from 2 serious life-threatening illnesses – either of which could take her life at anytime. I continuously cry out to God to heal her because the thought of losing her is more than I think I can take.

  13. It *is* the little things, isn’t it, Robin?! One of those food-related little things for me is seeing leftovers in the fridge. My oldest would have long-eaten those leftovers had he still been here. I have two adult children and one still in high school, so I’m only knocking on the empty-nest door, I’m not quite through it yet. — ((((Hug)))) Prayers for your little girl as she moves into the next exciting phase of her life. And, prayers for her mama as she does the same. Oh, the bitter and the sweet intermingle at their best in parenting, don’t they?! ♥♥♥

  14. Mine are only 12 (boy, 6th grade), and 7 (girl, 1st grade), but it is already so hard for me as my quiet and timid one prepares to enter middle school, and the other is a fireball girlie who stymies me at every turn. I don’t want to control them, but this world is so crazy anymore. I can only pray that God gives me the grace to get through, and I know that He holds His children (because He is just lending them to me, after all) in the palm of His mighty hands. The silliest things make me cry right now. I saw a Thomas the Tank Engine DVD the other day, and I welled up because he loved Thomas so much. Going through baby clothes for yard sale made me weepy because she’ll never wear those frilly strawberry dresses again. But I’m thankful for the memories and pictures.

  15. Robin, I love how you said women are emotional titanium! I can’t look ahead too far or else the emotional titanium turns to tin. Lol (My kiddos are only elementary age.) But it reminds me of a newly released book called Fledge by Brenda Yoder. It’s specifically to aid mamas in “launching their kids without losing their minds” and keeping sanity, faith, and family intact. Glad to know you and other women are creating resources of encouragement and practical help for those seasons! May you be given everything you need as you move through this season now!

    • Pearl,

      You are such an encourager–thank you! I haven’t heard of Brenda’s book, but it sounds wonderful! It’s an interesting trend to me–I see so many young adults returning home to live with their parents; I rarely saw this when I was out of school and single. I wonder what all the contributing factors are, you know? You make a lovely point and that is WE NEED EACH OTHER! We need multiple voices sharing stories to encourage those who come behind us!! Thank you for your affirmation, for reading, thinking, and being part of our (in)community :).

  16. Thank you, Robin. Said goodbye (earlier this month) to my 19 year old, as he shipped off to join the Air Force. I had no clue how hard that goodbye would hit. I had my “fuji apple moment” the next day, as I was walking out of my 12 year old’s middle school. I made it to my car before the ugly cry, but I just kept saying, “He was just here!” I could so clearly see him once again as a middle schooler. I really appreciate your post.

    • Christine,

      Time plays mean tricks on us, doesn’t it? Those “just yesterdays” feel so close, but when we’re living it, “tomorrow” seems forever away.

      And then we blink :).

      (((hugs))) to you and THANK YOU to your son. I’m grateful for his service and I’m saying a prayer over these first days (for you…and for him).

  17. Robin what a special and sweet message!
    Maybe there are other Mothers like me that it grieves to read the hope and trust that you have. I have scratched off the words “Mother’s Day” from my calendar. I have gone over so many what-ifs, how should I have been different. After my husband and I being saved in our mid-thirties, we tried to raise our daughter in the way the Lord would have us, including homeschooling. In her mid-thirties she decided to view everything I did as her mother, as toxic and all those other horrible words that the psychologists use to encourage hating parents these days. Her hatred for me is so apparent and heart breaking, she barely has any contact with me and all of her conniving to keep me out of her children’s lives. But praise God He has overruled in ways that we still have seen our Grandchildren. What a mess, I never treated my parents as she treats us, even though I was not a believer. She and her husband are believers, hard to imagine. It has been 5 years of shocking, completely unexpected hateful behavior against me; and my searching for what all did I do wrong? What should I have done, what do I do now, feeling like the greatest failure? I have spent much of my days in crying out to God, reading His word, and other devotions. I have been in counselling and many prayers have been offered up from close friends, this is where I am just today: Paul said he cannot even judge himself, God is his judge (and mine). I have to put my hand to the plow and not look back, forgetting what lies behind. I did what I thought the Lord wanted me to do, and obviously failed, but for much of the past, I don’t know what I could have done differently. Certainly I see some things that I should have done differently now. I have to commit all of them to the Lord and rededicate myself to Him and forget Mother’s Day. There is absolutely no part of our relationship or who she is now that resembles who she was before. It is death. And I have grieved much, but this Mother’s Day, I think will be finally the time for me to realize I must put who she was, and our better times of relationship in the grave, just as much as a physical death. Thank you for allowing me to express myself to you. I actually feel a sense of release after writing this.

    • Dear mh,

      First, your first sentence means so much to me after reading what comes next, YOUR experience, your story. It sounds heartbreaking. I’m thankful to hear you feel a sense of release after writing out your thoughts.

      Second, without more information and acknowledging I am not a trained professional in matters of family counsel, I can’t really speak (and shouldn’t) to what you’ve endured. It makes me sad to hear so much hurt, and I can only turn to God and pray for healing. But, for what it’s worth, there is something I would say to you (and all those who share a similar experience), to encourage you and perhaps point you to Hope: you have an enemy who wants to kill, steal, and destroy–your relationships, your heart, your life–and it is not your daughter. I know you didn’t accuse her, but it’s so helpful to me to remember who desires the hurtful circumstances in my life, who it is who delights in my misery. It’s not God. When I remember Whose I am, when I keep in mind my ONLY enemy, it helps me, it reorients my prayers and thinking. I don’t know that mentioning it (again) here will be of help to you, but to God be the glory if it’s a well-timed reminder. ((hugs))

      • Thank you very much, Robin. May the Lord richly bless you as you continue on your Motherhood journey and helping others.

          • Dear Lisa, I so appreciate your prayers and comments and taking the time to encourage me in that way. May the Lord bless you for caring.

    • MH,

      Praying for you and your family. It is heartbreaking when children turn on their parents. The devil is out to steal, kill and destroy. I know your daughter has fallen prey to His lies. May God change her heart towards you and bring her back to you.

      (((((((((Hugs)))))))))

      • Thank you Beth for caring enough to pray for me and my family, and write to me. Your understanding and comments are balm for my heart. Again, thank you and God bless you!

  18. Our oldest graduated in 2015. Then, one year later, our two boys graduated. By the end of that summer, we were left with only our 5-year-old. You would think since our nest is not technically empty that we would not grieve as other parents – but you would be oh so wrong! As a blended family, those older siblings have been together since they were 3 and under; they were all in the same friend-group. They have been tightly knit together from various losses our family has endured together, including the loss of their youngest sister 10 years ago. When they, and their friends, moved away, our home went from Grand Central Station to something more resembling a library. People were present, but the air was quiet.

    Fast forward two years … I am so deeply proud of my crew! They work hard, make great relationship choices, and our oldest will be a first-time mom in July. Still, I treasure the moments like last weekend when word got out that the furthest-removed brother was coming home, so the other 2 gathered in as well. For just an hour or so, our 6-year-old got to bounce between all his siblings, and it was SO sweet to realize how much love surrounds him! My heart is still full; I wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything!

    Bless all you mamas in the release stage. Sending you all hugs today. (P.S. – Two years later, I still cry over puns, memes, hockey jerseys, jeans with no knees, and the color orange.)

    • Vicki,

      Maybe one of the harder things to learn and practice is to celebrate what IS and not keep pining for what WAS. You seem to be in such a healthy place, celebrating those special, rare moments that mean more today than ever :). I suppose our mama-hearts always feel the association of certain things, but that’s tender evidence of great love, yes?

  19. Robin,

    Raising children in this day and age is hard. This world is full of hatred & distrust. It isn’t a loving, caring world anymore. Praying for all moms out there. You have a hard job raising good Godly children. May God help you all as your little ones leave the nest & venture out into this crazy world. Have faith & pray hard for them. You all have done a great job with God’s precious gifts.

    Blessings 🙂

  20. Robin, such poignant words. I don’t have one graduating this year but I’ve launched 5 so far. Those senior years brim with heart-swelling, heart-wrenching moments. Really, it’s right and good that they soar and it sure makes me treasure the weekends and summers they come home.

    • Lisa,

      Oh, my…five? How many more to go? You’re so right…when all my babies are under my roof, I can’t stop smiling. Or cooking. Or looking at them. lol… Seeing who they’re becoming is such a joy.

  21. I literally ugly girl sobbed reading this.. as I just watched my first born cross that stage just a short 2 weeks ago at his high school graduation. 2 weeks before that he accepted an offer with a college in Missouri to continue his education and play baseball. That is 14 and a half hours.. 1,083 miles away from me. Whoa at the struggle.. it is real I tell ya! This story could not have come at a more perfect time. I know my time is limited having him home and thinking about the day I turn around to leave him there just sends pangs of sadness through my bones and soul. I think, how will I ever get through that? How will I manage not having him around everyday? So I am so glad to hear that I’m not the only mama walking around this earth right now scared, proud, happy, confused, sad, numb and fulfilled all at the same time! LOL
    I know the Lord says that we love because He first loved us and when I really sit and think about the power in those words, and the depth of His love for us.. man.. it really makes you think.
    I chuckle at the idea of Him watching us at times, and I wonder if He ever feels like us mama’s sending our babies off to college for the first time. I know He does and how He deserves to be praised for His understanding, unconditional love.

    Thank you Lord for your sweet mercy and never ending grace.