August 5, 2020

iMonk 101: Denise Spencer’s Thoughts On A Daughter Leaving for College

Last night, the Spencer family ate Mexican in celebration of my daughter’s graduation from Ohio State University. It was a happy occasion in life’s journey. Long-time readers of this site may remember some of the key moments in this journey and the parallel journey of our son, who is still in school.

Perhaps one of the best things that ever appeared here at IM is my wife’s wonderful essay “Hannah Had it Wrong (But just barely).” Denise reflected on the feelings of a mom as her first child leaves home. It’s flat out incredible writing.

If you are a new parent or planning to be in the near future, you need to read this essay. Denise is a world-class parent, and this essay has the advice she gives to all parents of young children everywhere.

Denise Day Spencer is a publications editor living and working in southeastern Kentucky. She’s the mother of Noel, 23 and Clay, 20.

Read: “Hannah Had it Wrong (But just barely).”


  1. Our son left for college seven years ago. We just saw our daughter leave for the other side of the country (Los Angeles) to pursue her dream of working in the film industry as a photographer. I know the feeling.

  2. I was struck by what your friend said, “You don’t even know.”

    And yet a week later you “knew”!

    I think about how arrogant I was as a young parent and how much I thought I knew. And how I am still learning that I need friends who have already walked the path and can remind me that “I don’t even know.”

    Thanks for sharing your heart!

  3. Congrats to your daughter. Congrats to you as well.


  4. APearlofGrace says

    I am so glad our kids have a wide age spread, and we have a hope for grandkids before the youngest leaves in about 11 years! I referred to our baby as our statement to the world that we didn’t believe in the empty nest. No matter how many times we go through partings (of many different types), it’s good to remember who they belong to.