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Leaving Home

The hidden costs of college have little to do with tuition.

by Greg Asimakoupoulos
September 3, 2004

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When your kid leaves home for college,
your emotions fall apart.
You can picture him in diapers.
You can see her tracing hearts.
You remember when he started
kindergarten, then first grade.
You could swear it was a week ago
she sold you lemonade.
There were Cub Scouts, ballet lessons,
Little League and soccer games.
There were sleepovers and campouts
roasting hot dogs on the flames.
There were Barbies, trucks and braces,
family trips to Disneyland.
It seems like only yesterday
you held that little hand.
Now that hand grasps a diploma
as that grown-up voice says “Bye…
I’ll be home for sure Thanksgiving.
What’s that leaking from your eye?”
It’s a bittersweet occasion.
You’re so proud this day has come.
But to see that empty bedroom
leaves you nauseous and half-numb.
It’s a heartache felt by millions
who have watched their children leave.
When you let go of the ones you love
you cannot help but grieve.

Comments (9)

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Everett Wilson from Chetek, WI writes:
September 3, 2004
It's already fifteen years since our last one left, but your verse still touches the heart.


Jeff Schirle from Grand Forks, ND writes:
September 5, 2004
Got a double-dose of 'choke-up' today. First they played Bob Carlisle's Butterfly Kisses on the radio, and now this poem. I must be getting sentimental in my old age. Good place to be, tho.

Mike Brien from Kirkland writes:
September 5, 2004
Greg is great at tugging at the heartstrings. My daughter has just left WA for her Sr. year in NY. It doesn't get any easier as the years pass. Greg's talent at writing the feelings we all have is very good.

IdaLynn Wenhold from Naperville, IL writes:
September 5, 2004
Awesome poem by the Awesome Rev! I am the Executive Director of a not-for-profit character building initiative in Naperville, IL, and Greg's poem capsules the joy and pain we feel as parents. The rewards are in the journey so vividly expressed in this poem.

Jody Moreen from Chicagoland, IL writes:
September 5, 2004
Leaving Home beautifully articulates the process of letting go and the memories that flood the mind as a precious child leaves home for college. My son leaves for school this week, far from home. Such mixed emotions and this lovely prose echoes the sentiments of my heart so well!

Margie Swenson from Quito, Ecuador writes:
September 7, 2004
I have the amazing privilege of being on the receiving end of students who are leaving home for college, Covenant Bible College Ecuador, to be more precise. Having sent our own 3 sons far away to study, I can totally relate to Greg's sentiments. The joy is that when we are willing to let them spread their wings, they quickly come back, transformed, matured, and ready to share their adult hearts and lives with Dad and Mom!

Michael H. Thomson from Merritt Island(what's left of it) FL writes:
September 8, 2004
In 1988 my two sons left for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. The day of their departure it sunk in that things were changing - forever. As they said goodbye - eager to get on with it - my goodbye squeaked out of my throat. It was the first and last time I ever had a lump there. Good article, Greg!

Janelle Bengtson from Kennedy, MN writes:
September 13, 2004
We just left our son off at CBC Midwest. I cried as though I would never see him again! Then arriving home I was putting his little brother to bed in their shared room of ten years. Little brother was crying and holding his older brother's pillow saying, mom I smell him. More tears from mom! This is the third time letting go to an older child for our family, it's not any easier. They grow up, move out and and become your best friend.

Thanks Greg for Leaving home. Some how it helps knowing others go through it too. More tears from mom!

J Frazier from Huntley, Il writes:
January 1, 2011
I just found this poem today the 1st day of 2011. I relqte well to this as I remeber the days well when my chidren went away to college. I cried all the way back home and that was over 20 years ago.

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Sunday Rhymes & Reasons
Published June 4, 2009

Sunday Rhymes and Reasons is a compilation of inspirational poetry by America's pastor/poet laureate, Greg Asimakoupoulos. In this, his third volume of poetry, Pastor Greg paints word pictures that portray both the struggle and fulfillment that define a life of faith. His repertoire of rhymes celebrate rite-of-passage occasions like birth, baptism, marriage and death as well as the major holidays of the church and culture. It is a volume that illustrates the poet's love of words and of popular culture. The author dips his brush into a paint box of hubris, humor and honesty.

"Gloria and I have been encouraged by word pictures from Greg's pen that have celebrated both our ministry and God's presence in our world."Bill Gaither, Gospel music composer/performer

"Gifted poet Greg Asimakoupoulos is a dear friend of our family. His poetry blesses, comforts, entertains, and provides inspiration for every season of life."Natalie Grant, singer/songwriter/recording artist

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Leaving Home
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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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