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When a child leaves home

Here are my boys,

walking away,

in their own world

of words I do not understand.


Where I used to lead,

I follow,

whistful, watching,

distanced from the world they march into.


Then the eldest carries on walking,

until he leaves home


I am left floating in rivers






There are spaces

where there used to be trainers,



The washing machine rests more

the fridge stays full.

There is an empty place at the table,

Once again, I am the last one to bed.


When a child leaves home of course we parents are

proud of them,

excited for them,

know it is the right and natural thing,

this much is spoken of,


there are words of new beginnings,



jolly good,

shoulder slapping

he’s off into the world.


Yet what no one speaks of is the ending

for him

for this brother

his fathers

and for me.

On this there is silence

only the moon can hear.

Yet it is visceral,



Labour is intense,

Heart contractions now

when once they were womb,

knowing that the only way out of the pain

is through.


The waters break,



sun stroked streams.


I baptise myself,


in the waterfall ice,

birthing not just he,

as a man

but me

as a new self.


I duck myself once to release him

Twice to send him into the world well

thrice with wishes for friends and love to attend him

wherever his feet fall.


Then I float myself,

body burning

with iron cold water


into something new,




grateful to have shared this walk with him for so long.




I strip,





I walk back to meet him where he has waited,


we stroll once more


past blackberries and puddles

back to the car.


No one tells you when you give birth to a baby

you give birth to yourself as a mother.


No one tells you when your child leaves homes,

that you birth them again into adulthood

and yourself something new and unknown.


Julie Leoni

Julie Leoni

Coach, author, podcaster, facilitator, Yoga and psychology teacher, learner

I have over 30 years of experience and qualification in various therapeutic and meditation/mindfulness based approaches. I work with change. Some changes we chose, others happen to us.  Sometimes we know we want to change but don't know how. Sometimes we don't want to change but external events or people are forcing us to change. The menopause, children leaving home, the end of a relationship or job, becoming a parent, coming out, bereavement are just some of the personal changes I support people with. I also work with people who want to make changes to their life and wider world in response to social issues such as Covid, the climate crisis and racial, sexual and gender inequalities. Times are changing whether we want them to or not and we need to be nimble, agile, curious and open in order to part of the new story emerging. Work with me to get clear on what matters to you, what makes your heart sing and what kind of future you want for yourself and those you love. It is possible to live differently, get in touch to explore how.

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