My younger son left home four months ago. 🙁 Time for some positive thinking! 🙂
- He’s on cloud nine living with his clever and talented girlfriend.
- He’s moved to Edinburgh, my favourite city – yet another good reason to visit.
- Free sofa bed during the Fringe – whoop whoop!
Sigh . . . that’s enough of that, we all know that true happiness requires honesty, and the honest truth is that I miss him terribly. I miss hearing him singing and playing his wonderful music in the next room while I’m cooking. I miss his enthusiastic book recommendations (and yes, I promise I’ll read The Picture of Dorian Gray). I miss the way he always kept his bedroom spotlessly clean and tidy.* And while Edinburgh may be only three hours away, that’s three hours too far to pop round for a coffee – and it’s still in a foreign country isn’t it?
My husband has a philosophical take on things, pointing out that he was married with a mortgage at twenty, remember, and anyway I didn’t expect the kids to stay home forever did I? Well no, obviously not on a logical level, but my habit of living in the moment means I haven’t prepared for this absence at all. Why, it seems only yesterday I was changing nappies (it wasn’t, he’s nineteen) and wondering if I would ever get a minute for an uninterrupted bath, let alone imagining that one day the house would be ominously quiet, the fridge surprisingly full and the laundry basket surprisingly empty.
Also, deep down, maybe I cherished a little fantasy about living with my adorable sons forever – in a Walton’s Mountain kind of scenario, obviously, rather than a Bates Motel one. Motherhood’s a job with a built-in severance package that delivers a range of mid-life benefits – freedom, spare cash, extra space, no more chauffeuring duties or lying awake in the wee small hours anxiously waiting for the front door to slam – so why don’t I feel ready for this liberation?
Now my birds have flown the nest I feel like I’m the one standing on a perch peering anxiously through an open cage door – it’s a big wide world out there with so many possibilities. Is it my turn to fly, into the next stage of my life? Travel, take up a new interest, have a grown-up gap year? Find new purpose and meaning in life? So many choices!
So this is a plea for help – if you have experience of weathering the changes, coming to terms with an empty nest, and setting off on a new flight path, please share your wisdom with me!
* I’m playing a game here called two truths and a fib – spot the odd one out. I know, tricky.
Lyrics of the Week
A verse from Ewan MacColl’s beautiful song Joy of Living, which says it all really, far better than I could.
Farewell to you my chicks, soon you must fly alone
Flesh of my flesh, my future life, bone of my bone
May your wings be strong, may your days be long, safe be your journey
Each of you bears inside of you the gift of love
May it bring you light and warmth and the pleasure of giving
Eagerly savour each new day and the taste of its mouth
Never lose sight of the thrill and the joy of living