Drive Safely. Make Good Choices.


I wake snuggled in a cozy tangle of fleece and down with my cat’s warmth pressing against my side. The radiators softly tick-tick-tick and in the distance the tires of a passing car hum on pavement. A typical start to the day, but the house feels foreign this morning, operating on a different frequency.

Over the past two weeks my children have returned to their rich, busy lives: Adeline heading off to England for six months of study, Connor returning to his final semester at college, and Lydia safely ensconced in her dorm again late yesterday afternoon. Our old house sighs and settles in the cold morning and so do I. My thoughts wing outward to linger gently, like a blessing, on each of my children.

Over the years at times of parting I’ve learned to speak a sort of code to my kids, encapsulating vast emotions in catchphrases like “Drive safely” and “Make good choices.” At times they roll their eyes affectionately when I repeat these phrases, and they have become a bit of a household joke. But to me, these phrases are mantras, heartfelt repeated prayers. They are shorthand for “I love you and when you go out and about in this world, I’m proud and excited and so, so vulnerable. For you are my heart. So be careful and be kind and live your life to the fullest. Oh, and have fun but don’t be stupid. You are not invulnerable and you have enriched my life and simultaneously sent it careening wildly out of my control. So, please, please remember I love you and always will and sending you off with a smile on my face is a huge act of trust and faith in both you and the universe.”

And this morning as I lie in my warm, soft bed, in the newness of their absence, my thoughts touch on each of them in turn, envisioning them where they might be…missing them, loving them, hoping against hope that this morning ritual, this mental caress, will keep them safe in this wild, wonderful, unruly world. And softly, like a prayer, I think, “Drive safely. Make good choices.”


13 thoughts on “Drive Safely. Make Good Choices.

  1. Erika Victor says:

    I totally get it, as a mom who lives a zillion miles away from her recently fledged sons. You captured all the hopes and wishes so well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jarhartz says:

    Oh, you got me in tears. A perfect mother’s prayer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I imagine it is so hard living so far away from your kids. My dayghter is so young and is convinced I’m going to go to college with her when it is time. Like your kids, I’m sure she’ll forge her own way in the world just like your kids have done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mbhmaine says:

    I’m usually spoiled, Stacey, because my kids have all gone to school less than 2 hours from home. The England thing and the impending graduation stretch my apron strings a bit more these days!


  5. Linda Baie says:

    This is the sweetest, and it doesn’t end when they’re all grown up, FYI. I still wish them safe journey when they leave & that means so much more. Love “My thoughts wing outward to linger gently, like a blessing, on each of my children.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for going deep into your motherhood for us all.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dana Murphy says:

    Oh my. As you read in my Slice, I experienced my first ’empty house’ moment. I did not like it and I missed my babies so. I love the words behind your catch phrase. It’s everything I feel. Everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Anonymous says:

    And when your three children read this Slice, they will know even more what your “Drive Safely” means. Beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tara Smith says:

    This is my life with my three. My youngest leaves fro study abroad in London on Thursday… Just loved this slice!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. kd0602 says:

    You capture so well those feelings tied up in the seemingly mundane words. Thanks for sharing you words!


    Liked by 1 person

  11. Anonymous says:

    Aw Molly, you are my heart . . . .drive
    safely and make good choices.
    I love you. Sherry

    Liked by 1 person

  12. cbhanek says:

    “My thoughts wing outward to linger gently, like a blessing, on each of my children.” So beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt maternal blessings for your children. God bless you and them.


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