The day finally arrived a week ago Sunday, my son armed with his suitcases and mini-fridge made the journey on to the next stage of his life. I was wondering if the mini-fridge (his request) was a little over the top, but it seems now, he would have been the odd one out without one. His room was not left the way we had discussed, and he did have the entire summer to vacuum and polish (mentioned once or twice by me) but as his stress levels rose on leaving day I caved and said he could leave the rest to me.
I was so brave, I can hardly believe how brave I was, I'm still walking about with a smug look on my face at how BRAVE I really was when he hugged me goodbye. But that's when parenting strength really comes into play, I didn't want him to see me upset and get upset himself, that is after all why he didn't even let me go with him!
I spent the next few hours after his departure cleaning my empty nest, revelling in the opportunity to have the house free of teenage clutter and body hair. His bedroom had never looked so welcoming. A good job really as that same evening, my first night of freedom, my Father was coming to stay. And is still here. I have yet to experience the highs and lows of my empty nest. I'm still cooking dinner every night, I'm still having to let someone know if I will be home straight from work. But not for long, another week and my nest will be empty again.
I'm sure I'll enjoy the first couple of days until the deafening silence kicks in, and the novelty of watching whatever crap I like on the telly has worn off. And then I'll probably end up longing for an excuse to make a tasty dinner, that requires effort, for someone again. But isn't that why I started writing in the first place, amongst other things, to fill this void.
Yesterday I sent the first package to my son (he finally gave me his address). Contained within was one tin opener, a packet of sweets and a handwritten letter (which I announced with way too much fervour at the post office counter when asked the contents of my jiffy bag). My son had tried to convince me to think of his departure as being away at boarding school, not that he had left home. So I was very excited to be fulfilling my role and sending him tuck (food eaten by children at school as a snack). I was also proud at how light-hearted and funny my letter was as I pictured his beautiful face creasing up with laughter. I am now of course waiting for him to let me know if he has received it yet, and for him to tell me what a great mum I am and how much he laughed, and that it was all so funny he passed my letter around his friends so that they could laugh as well and say, "Your mum is so cool, my mum would never write me a letter like that".
You can't fill the VOID of your one and only, funny, huggy, smart, kind, loving, child leaving you, you can only fill the time.
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