Sunday, September 28, 2014

Ten Reasons You Know Your Son Has Gone to University...

  1. You don’t trip over five pairs of smelly trainers when you come in through the back door

  1. Your food bill has suddenly halved and your shopping list no longer includes a jumbo pack of chicken dippers (usually consumed in one sitting at 3am) and eight litres of milk

  1. You hear those immortal words ‘In a minute…’ half the usual number of times when you ask someone to lay the table (well I do still have one at home)

  1. Your fridge seems  unusually empty without the usual fridge pack of beers which are kept chilled for that impromptu party invite

  1. The house isn’t filled with the strange cacophony of his increasingly dodgy taste in music – well, dodgy to me anyway

  1. You have woken up a least once in a blind panic because that familiar head hasn’t poked round the bedroom door at 4am to say ‘Mum, I’m home’. Then you remember he’s not gone out, he’s actually gone – for a while anyway

  1. You come home from work and the kitchen looks the same as you left it in the morning rather than the aftermath of a mortar attack

  1. In his bedroom, the wardrobe has replaced the floordrobe

  1. You have two bottles of Diet Coke that have been in the cupboard for longer than a day

  1.  There is no-one telling daft jokes at the dinner table, gently teasing his sister, giving you hugs every day, inspiring you, educating you, making you laugh, making you cry, making you smile. That lovely face that you have looked on almost every day of his life, that you have watched change from a chubby baby, to a messy toddler, to an awkward adolescent and finally to a handsome young man is no longer a daily feature of your life and probably will never be again. And you realise that he has left a hole in your life that you could drive a juggernaut through. And you also realise that all those friends whose kids have already left, whose over-emotional Facebook statuses you had quietly scoffed at (while hitting the ‘Like’ button, of course) when they left for university had been telling the truth.  It really is like someone has cut one of your limbs off.

It’s part of the paradox of parenthood. You want them to spread their wings, to go out in the world and make their mark, be their own person, have their own life but damn, it hurts too. The most important relationship in your life has changed subtly and will never be the same. The years that you have invested in their life and their upbringing has, inevitably, come to this, the moment they leave and though you always knew it would happen, when it does you  realise that all the preparation in the world hasn't made you ready for this moment.