In 5 days my daughter leaves for Uni. I will admit, these are trying days. On one hand, I am ready to just kick her to the kerb. She believes she’s right about everything. And then there’s the lackadaisical attitude in finding a job, doing her chores, or doing just about anything that doesn’t involve YouTube.
Don’t you love your young adults who seemingly know it all and expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter?
On the other hand, it’s only 5 days before my daughter leaves for University.
My baby is now grown and ready to fly independently from the well-insulated nest. She’s packed all her belongings and is now biding her time until she can say ‘adios biatches’ and dive into adulthood without her Ma and Pa breathing down her neck.
Life is about to change radically for us all.
I know I’m not the only parent who has dealt with this. I know there are plenty who know what it’s like to empty the nest. To watch their child head out into the world. To have their child buck and poke at every opportunity, trying to prove they are ready to be out in the world.
It’s exciting and scary at the same time.
I have been busying myself by getting ready for our own adventure, handing things off to Nat that I know she will need, or giving her things I feel she may like to take with her. But it’s not helping to know that our lives are about to go in completely different directions.
The reality is too confronting. Over the course of a day I find myself nostalgic then completely exhausted. I’ll be thinking of her at five, how cute she was, the cuddles she would share. Then she will walk in to the room, say something completely sassy to me, and before I know it, I’m doing a complete 180 and ready to pack her up and say ‘good luck kid!’
She was so cute when she was young.
These are the last days we will fight over whether she’s cleaned the bathroom, a weekly chore she’s had for years now. The last days to cook dinner together as she learns how to cook on her own. The last days to have her enter a room to tell me something funny she found on Twitter (or Tumblr or Instagram or YouTube).
And yet, these are the last days I will have to remind her to clean the bathroom, for the third time in a day. The last days I will have to ask her to cook dinner so that she WILL learn how to cook. The last days she will interrupt me when I’m deeply focused on something with some ‘funny’ (read: stupid) thing she saw on Twitter etc…
Yeah, there’s always two sides to the coin, isn’t there?
But here’s the thing: Natalie and I are joined at the hip. We have been her entire life. She’s the sugar in my tea. I can’t say she’s the yin to my yang because a. That would be Rich and b. She’s so much like me it’s frightening. We’re close. We travel together. We have a love of writing together. We are (although she will hate me for writing this) so much alike she should just point to me with any future partner and say “that is what you will get 30 years from now. Are you still in?”
It’s going to be a shock for both of us to not be together. I know that we will be in constant contact, thanks to the amazing miracle of technology. And there’s also the old-fashioned letters I’ve promised to write her from the road.
But it won’t be the same, will it? It will be like losing a limb. While I know it will be liberating for her to be on her own, it still will be a massive change for us all. Which is part of why I’ve said ‘fuck it, I’m going travelling’ rather than dealing with the pain and isolation of the empty nest.
I know, I sound like I’m a pendulum of emotions because, well, I am. But, as a good friend reminded me recently, we can only do our best to prepare them for the real world and that’s all we can do. From here, it’s up to them.
I just hope to God that she listened to something!