Broken Hearted Joy

Broken Hearted Joy, by Dean Snider


If you are like me, watching your children grow up and move out of your house was a process that tapped wildly mixed emotions. “Every time I think of her, makes me laugh, makes me cry.”

In 2008, our oldest daughter, Madison, graduated from Walla Walla High School and was planning her departure to college in British Columbia. She would be entering the new world of young adulthood. How fabulous! What Joy! The college years are wonderful in so many ways.

At the same time, her choice of college was a 7-hour drive away. She was launching into the independence of adulthood. It was breaking my heart to think of her gone from our daily world and experience. She has now graduated from college and is living and working, thriving by my observation, in Vancouver BC.

‘Broken Hearted Joy’ is a product of the conflicting emotions during Madison’s exit from childhood and entrance into the independence of adulthood. Since that time, Madison’sBialey's grad dinnersisters, Kennedy and Bailey, have followed that similar path; High School graduation, a 7 + hours drive to college and an independent treck into adulthood. These emotions – joy, and sadness – alternating between lifting and crushing me – persisted with each experience, with each departure.

These days, however, I have been amazed – not surprised but certainly awed  –  by these rather remarkable human beings who have grown into young women of strength and grace,  of creativity and resolve, of courage and empathy. It has been the best part of the last few years, together with Darlene, just watching them step up, step out, try bold new things and forge their own unique and fascinating paths.


Dearest Madison, Kennedy and Bailey, your mother and I are overflowing with pride at the creative, strong, independent, and gracious people that you have become. We anticipate, with confidence and curiosity, how you will continue to shape your lives, loves, and careers. Although this song was written for Madison first, it applies equally to each of you. These days, however, I think we can agree that we have grown well past the broken heart and are living in the joy as we share in your lives together.

Joy and Pride mixed… three times over!




  1. A friend shared this with me. We just took our daughter to SPU, you’re spot on describing the conflicted feelings that take over at times. Thank you.


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