The Things They Leave Behind

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The Things They Leave Behind

leave behindQuick link: The Things Teenagers Leave Behind

Today I have a web exclusive piece at Brain Child. This essay was hard to write, you’ll see why when you read it. I sort of bare my soul about sending our kids to boarding school through writing about what they leave behind when they return to school after breaks.

They leave stuff and messes and memories. I guess it is what we leave at my parent’s and Tom’s parent’s when we come back to Djibouti. And they also leave a mom who feels like a failure and who knows she isn’t one. They leave a mom in tears and a mom who knew from before they were born that parenting is about making easy choices.

It is scary to be so honest in a public space but I also believe there is value in that kind of vulnerability.

Would appreciate your thoughts, click here to read The Things Teenagers Leave Behind


  1. richelle @ "our wright"-ing pad January 28, 2014 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    LOVE this photo! 🙂 …and a perfect fit for this piece.

  2. Ron Wiley January 28, 2014 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Rachel, your rawness and vulnerability shreds my heart every time you write one of these pieces! Whether as a mom or a dad, whether the kids are 13 or 18 or 28, leaving them behind or being left behind by them… the heartache is real, so real… and so, so good! This is what we raised them for. I can’t say that with gladness, but there is a deep joy nonetheless. We’re now in the place that your parents and our parents have been all of these years, and our adult TCKs are one-by-one launching out… first one to Asia, soon another one to Africa… God only knows where they’ll all end up! And we haven’t even begun the long distance grandparenting journey yet… may He give us the courage and grace to take that step when it comes, and to trust Him that it is a good one as well!

    • Rachel Pieh Jones January 28, 2014 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      Thanks Ron. I resonate with what you said about: this is what we raised them for, and not saying it with gladness but with the deeper joy. I don’t want to think yet about when they are actually adults, that seems even harder! Trusting that the grace will only, ever, increase.

  3. Jeanine January 28, 2014 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    Rachel this was a beautiful piece and it touched my heart so. You indeed have a gift.

  4. Carin January 29, 2014 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    Oh Rachel….my mother heart sobs at the thought of this way of living, for your heart wrenching tears. I praise God that he has taught you that you are not a failure because your kids are at boarding school and that sometimes the things that hurt the most are not always bad. Thank-you for your brutal honesty and I pray your next messy teenager visit is full of great joy.

  5. Kris Bowen January 29, 2014 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this beautiful piece and the reminder that “wise motherhood choices are rarely the easy ones.” I’m still new at this mom thing – I have a 2 year old and a 3 month old. We’re moving to Asia in 2 months and, as a TCK myself, I know there are many tough decisions ahead. Thanks for your honesty and insight.

  6. Rachel Pieh Jones January 30, 2014 at 5:49 am - Reply

    Sometimes I think not being a TCK is hard as a mom of them because I don’t know exactly what they are experiencing. I’m so thankful for the wisdom I’m gleaning from those who were/are and are now raising kids abroad or can speak insight into our experiences. May you have joy and peace as you transition to Asia soon.

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