Two weeks ago I dropped off my eldest at university in England.
Four weeks ago I dropped my middle child at boarding school (also in the UK) for the start of his sixth form studies.
Well, actually after landing back in Barcelona I went straight to work, sorted out my youngest’s extra-curricular activities, did a weekly shop and tidied the house…… life goes on.
Yes, my house feels a little emptier and my evenings are now a little freer but the school routine continues, as will going to work and cooking dinner each evening. And now I have the added logistics of Exeat weekends (weekends off for my son from school), half terms and holidays.
After years of having 3 children at the same school where I only had to juggle different pick-up times, I now have the complication of 3 children all with different terms dates and days off. And all this further complicated by the fact that their father lives in another country. Finding moments when all three will be home and free at the same time may now be a challenge.
Contrary to what I thought I might feel, and how people told me I would feel, I don’t actually feel bereft. My teenagers are more than delighted to have these new experiences and it’s a great feeling to see them both so happy as they start the next phase of their (our) lives.
For my 19 year old, a year of working and travelling between school and university has meant that she is starting higher education with a little more maturity, life experience and very little anxiety about living away from home and having to make new friends. If I’m honest, I didn’t really want my 15 year old to leave home just yet but he is already thriving in his new environment and it was definitely the best decision for him.
I’ve always loved the concept of giving our children roots to grow and wings to fly. If I’ve done that, then I feel I’ve done a pretty good job as a mum.
As I waited to take off from London to return to Barcelona, after dropping off my daughter, I jotted down some random reflections on this new phase of my life:
– It feels like only yesterday when my dad drove me up the M1 motorway to start my first year at university in the North of England, the car full to bursting with all my stuff – so much so that there was no room for my mum to come as well!
– I look back to how my own mum must have felt when I left home (I’m one of 4). She didn’t make a fuss – she let me fly – perhaps she knew she had created a home environment I would always want to go back to.
– I’m really happy for my children who are both excited about living in the UK – something they have wanted to do for years (6 months down the road it’ll be interesting to see if it has lived up to their expectations or not!)
– I’m looking forward to more time for myself – I suspect I will work more – but that in itself is exciting as it’s a chance for me to focus on rebuilding a career after 20 years of prioritising my family.
– After years of thinking they are very British (despite being half Italian and having lived in Spain all of their lives), I suspect that my kids may not actually feel this once they are living in the UK and will have more in common with the international students and community.
– I’m a little nervous of the changing dynamics at home. My youngest will definitely get more quality time with his mum without his siblings around, but it’s an intensity that we haven’t experienced before.
– I’m already getting FOMO (fear of missing out)! My son will be staying with family for his first weekend away and my daughter is planning to visit my mum for her birthday in October along with my brothers. But I’m equally happy that they finally get to spend more time with their English family.
– I’ve left the best until last – I am so looking forward to the fact that once I’ve tidied and cleaned the house it may actually stay that way for days and weeks rather than a matter of hours….
…..sometimes it’s the little things that give the most pleasure.
If you have a parenting story you’d like to share with our readers get in contact with me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read more about all aspects of parenting on our blog