My little ones flew the nest some years ago. One went to America for two years. That was six years ago and as she prepares to get married to a lovely American chap, I doubt that she will ever come home. The other one still lives locally and we see each other quite often. It would be fair to say that I miss them when they are not around.
I feel privileged that I was able to take time off work to be a full-time mum and I look back on those years with an aching nostalgia. During their teens, I somehow managed a delicate balancing act between working and mothering, although I wonder how when I think about the stress and strains it brought. Where did I find the time for the endless laundry, cooking, housework, helping with homework as well as holding down a full- time stressful job? Somehow I did and I am proud of the fine young women they have become.
Since they moved out I miss having access to their copious collection of shoes (we are all the same size) and I was known to borrow the odd item of clothing as well. Equally, there are things I don’t miss. Like the clutter of their crammed bedrooms and arguments about whose turn it is to do the washing up; massive phone bills in the days before mobiles; the fight for the remote control and the queue for the bathroom!
I look forward to their visits immensely but find it amusing how they slip straight back into rebellious teen mode. It’s as though the years in-between eighteen and thirty-something never happened. As soon as they arrive their bags explode, the music erupts and they expect to be fed, watered and generally pampered. Before long the house looks it’s been burgled, the washing machine has a nervous breakdown and I start to wonder if I taught them anything about being civilised human beings.
Joking aside, it is great to be free of the day to day responsibility of bringing up children and to be young enough to pursue my own interests. Since they left home I have not really experienced the so-called “empty nest” syndrome. I am working less but the pressures on my time have not really diminished. The difference is that these pressures are mostly self- inflicted and as I set myself daily goals and routines. Keeping busy doing the things I always promised myself I would one day get round to doing. Trying out new hobbies and seeing more of my friends and family. Life now is not about what I HAVE to do anymore. It’s about what I WANT to do. Hurray!!