So, at what point does the hollowness of the bedraggled nest hit home? It’s almost imperceptible, that drift from the tote containing wet wipes, snack provisions, spare sets of clothing and a hundred and one vital provisions, towards the tiny cross body bag (you finally become your own mother – never risk an unattended bag) complete with specs, spare hearing aid batteries and, perversely, a travel pack of wet wipes (old habits die hard). There are some milestones along the way, of course: the last swimming lesson, eureka; that final frozen Sunday standing on the touch line when, fortunately, you don’t actually realise it’s The Final Sunday; plus the ‘official’ landmarks, the Prom being a 21st century case in point. Just what is the point? All that expense for the hire suit and motley collection of pics on Facebook that you only manage to spot if junior forgets to log off his account. Back in my day, you hear yourself grumble, we were lucky to have a barbecue and disco (and if you’re as old as me, the barbecue was missing – and I’m not entirely sure I remember boogying to ‘Night Fever’ either…)
Anyway, I digress. Whilst there’s no denying the lightning of the laundry load is welcome, at some point you wake up and realise you are redundant. No longer required. Kaput. In my case it hit hard with the realisation that having equipped Number One DS (MumsNet acronym for Dear Son, I believe, though not strictly privy to that information due to being an elderly primagarda) with strong wings; not only could he flex them, but he could also use them to confidently transport himself 12,000 miles to New Zealand. And just might not come back. How did that happen? No one mentioned that possibility on the Eleven Plus Forum for chrissakes. Still, at least I can console myself in the knowledge that he is now a Fully Fledged Grown Up, beholden to no one other than himself. There is a certain satisfaction to be gained from his total self reliance – not once on his travels (and we’re talking upwards of 2.5 years) has he ever asked for any help, financial or practical. But that does, ironically, add to the sense of bewildered redundancy (I can write that confident in the knowledge DS is highly unlikely to read this blog and put in a cash request, given that I have birthed a rare specimen – a 24 year old busy getting on with his life rather than broadcasting pics of empty beer glasses on social media).
So, just what is he getting up to? Time to find out …
(Full length ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’ originally posted on http://www.rainerreflections.wordpress.com)