(Strip Number 644, Original Publication Date, 30 June 1984)
Panel 1: Elly asks John if they're doing the right thing by sending Mike on a plane all by himself.
Panel 2: John says he's old enough to handle it just fine. Elly says that this might be the case.
Panel 3: That being said, she's worried about her own ability to cope.
Summary: Great. It's not about Mike being packed off and fearing that he won't be allowed back, it's all about Elly feeling bad because she looks like a parent who can't cope with her kid. Note the use of the verb 'look'; she doesn't give a brass farthing about BEING a parent who can't cope so long as she looks like she can.