Tuesday, November 18, 2014

She's leaving home

Actually, she left two months ago. It seems surreal that after all the years of being there whenever I was needed, wiping grazes, helping with homework, organising fairy themed birthday parties and refereeing many sibling spats, suddenly Child Number One is living 1,000 miles away and getting on just fine without us.

Why wouldn't she? She is in London, relishing the ease of jumping on the tube to the West End, going to see a film on a whim or going clubbing when student funds allow but with a safety net of family and friends who look out for her, cook her the occasional Sunday roast and to whom she can turn in a crisis.

That said, letting her go is the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. Dropping her off at the airport with Handyman so that he could settle her into her halls, I somehow managed to stay chirpy and chatty until we said goodbye. Back in the car, I turned on the radio and on came a song she used to play on the piano and sing along to. I cried all the way home.

It brings into sharp focus the wonderful things about parenthood that we are all guilty of taking for granted sometimes.....the piano practises that make you stop whatever you are doing and sometimes bring a tear to your eye, the stupid jokes and banter at the dinner table, even just sitting down together to watch a TV drama or I'm a Celebrity. Working from home and not having the banter of an office, I really miss our after school chats, coffees and lazy weekend breakfasts. Her room is permanently hotel standard tidy, and I hate it.

We have got used to skype calls every few days and Whatsapp for saying good night, good morning, love you and showing each other what we're having for supper. I was expecting an alarming overload of pot noodles and pasta to be honest, but she is whipping up soups, smoothies, curries and shepherds pies like a mini Nigella. My dinner time rants about the evils of junk food, which I was convinced were in vain, have clearly paid off (although she did confess to a Pot Noodle/Gossip Girl marathon with Beaux, her best friend from primary school, recently. And she does have a fridge full of cider and Baileys in her room.)

We went to visit three weeks ago and I filled her fridge with M&S, manna from heaven for an impoverished student. I really think it takes distance, a tight budget and a bit of struggling for kids to realise what they also take for granted when they live at home. I now have a brilliant reason to flit back to London more often for a catch up with the girl who is embracing the next chapter of her life.