30/04/2013 08:37 BST | Updated 29/06/2013 06:12 BST

The Real Truth About Empty Nest Syndrome


Well I could write about empty nest syndrome - the aching void that's felt when the last of the ebullient personalities has left the family home.

When the longing to hear them, feel them, speak to them bores such a hole in your heart you wonder whether you will ever be able to enter their bedroom again, ever look at family photos again, breathe again, ever enjoy the silence at home, ever enjoy the not knowing.

Yes I could write about that, about the searing pain of missing them, their friends, and in our case their boyfriends, but I could also write about what happens next.

In fact, it's probably easier to list what happens next - and if this helps your looming empty nest syndrome it will have been worth it ... so here goes.

This is what happens when, after some adjustment, the students return to the empty nest:

You'll find

Your lipstick has gone missing

Your wardrobe has been picked over

The shampoo bottle has been emptied

The last of the bacon has been eaten

And the car radio has been reprogrammed.

You'll be asked to feign interest in

The next maybe big thing on Xfactor

The conversation Nick Grimshaw had with someone you're told you should have heard of but haven't

Fenton's highly charged chase on youtube (actually that is funny)

And you'll be asked to be quiet while One Born Every Minute is on

You'll need to book a slot

To watch the tv

To sprawl on the sofa

And to use your laptop when you may even find your facebook, worse twitter profile has been hijacked, or to coin the phrase, 'fraped', with, in my case top publishing executives getting status updates such as "what do you call an orange parrot? Carrot"

And you'll discover a way of living

Where 'pre lash' replaces the drinks before drinks, or drinks before dinner

And noveau art on the bathroom tiles is in fact spray tan

While the new radiator for the bathroom towels is the bedroom floor

Then you'll find that

They're not speaking to you from their bedroom but to some remote link via skype to Texas

And you're more than likely have a bill to pick up for contact lenses.

You'll be asked "what's for dinner" when you've adjusted to eating out when you like

And you'll sense a little agitation when you tell them you've got a tennis match, or need to go to London, or spend three days in the Czech Republic, or need to take a call on your mobile or deal with an essential email.

And you'll find that some essential item of clothing or sportswear (in our case ski boots) has been left on campus and

That dental appointments need to fit around reunions

And that the laundry basket has multiplied tenfold.

But would I have it any other way?

In short no.

I don't for one minute underestimate how lucky we are to have two fantastic daughters who have worked hard to secure places at university and who are well and happy. I write this simply to help all mothers, and fathers, who found, like me, the thought that the change in circumstances would be so overwhelmingly unbearable it would be difficult to look forward.

The fact is that for most of us we do adjust, it does take time, but when that empty nest becomes a comforting space bubble you will then be able to sit back fulfilled in the knowledge that all you did for them, for all those years was worth the empty nest - because the fact is, it's really not empty for long.

And for the sake of family peace - there's loads of great stuff I could write about them being at home but that's another blog.

Hilary Robinson will be appearing at this year's Harrogate International Bookfair.