Eldest: – no crisis –planning girls sleepover for Middle and Me at her place.
Middle:- no crisis– looking forward to above.
Youngest: -mini crisis – got to make his way home from Uni at the other end of the country- alone.
Other Half: – no crisis – too much work – not enough time but will have whole weekend free when I’m away so he’s booked golf for Saturday and tennis for Sunday, (as you do).
Me: -No crisis– will have 2 out 3 chicks for a weekend.
I’m trying to treat my empty nest symptoms like an addiction.
Firstly, I must wean myself off contacting Youngest. I am doing him no good to be forever asking how things are going. The first week I messaged him every day.I didn’t get a reply every day but he kindly tolerated my constant questions with infinite patience about whether he had made any friends and was he eating enough. From then on I backed off -slowly. I can now proudly report I only ask about his welfare now and again. Oh… ok…a small lie… every-other-day now and again. But I am getting better if I don’t have a reply – I don’t threaten to cut off his inheritance and I don’t visualize him lying in the gutter somewhere with blood streaming from his temple.
A mother’s guilt. Always there. Always whispering. What could I have done differently to make him more prepared for the world?
I did try and be stern.
Once when he was about 13 we were swamped with Middle’s girlfriends. Giggly, floaty, fragrant creatures. I would NEVER admit to having favourites but boys, whilst being highly amusing, are just from another stratosphere. Youngest had returned from playing tennis, red faced and sweaty, laid on the sofa (it was four hour’s worth of running around) and tried to charm his way round each girl who passed his throne to:-
a) turn the TV on for him,
b) pass him a chocolate muffin which is only five feet away in the kitchen and
c) get him a drink.
I’m pleased to say that all resisted his charms. So rather than rise from his prone position he had gone without and fallen asleep. On awaking he turned his attention to me, saying that if I loved him I would run around and do his bidding. I reiterated that ‘I did love him and that is why I wouldn’t be performing any subservient tasks, because he was in training. No woman wants a slob for a mate and that, as I’m keen to see the back of him one day, it’s in his best interest if I don’t.’
The right approach? Agreed?
He wouldn’t think so.
But my addiction is entirely my own fault. I must knock this chunk of guilt right off my damn shoulder. He didn’t get treated any differently to his sisters – they’ve coped. So will he.
Youngest is due home for a ‘reading week’ and about to take the Megabus for the first time.
Our conversations now go like this:-
Youngest :‘I’ve prepared myself as much as I can for the journey; 3 bagels, pot of pasta and multitude of snacks.’
Food always was his priority. Having a full larder is the way to his heart- but what a load of crap he’s eating.
Me:- ‘Sounds great. I’m off to the shops to fill the fridge for your arrival. Anything you want to eat?’
Youngest:- ‘Really nice dinners, variety of vegetables that aren’t over/undercooked.’
Ok. Good. Crap food for the journey is a one off. He’s concerned about his diet. I’ll stock up on plenty of green vegetables to get his immune system up.
Youngest:- ‘Oh, and maybe some steak. Oh, and smoked salmon.’
Steak! Smoked salmon! He’ll get sausages and tuna.
Me:- ‘You’re pushing it. Posh boy.’
Youngest:- ‘Barely slept last night cos I was worried about the bus. Got up at 3 am and thought I had to start getting ready so put my clothes on then fell asleep again.’
Aww cute. I’ve nagged him so much about not missing the bus he’s having sleepless nights.
Me:- ‘Best get a snooze on the bus then.’
Youngest:- ‘Won’t be able to, it’s soooo uncomfortable.’
Oh no, he needs to toughen up! He’s going to have many, long, bus journeys over the next four years… Perhaps I can get him a travel pillow. Stop it woman! You’ve just said he needs to toughen up.
Me:-‘If you want to travel, like your sisters, you’d better find a way to sleep anywhere.’
Youngest:- ‘Who said I want to be a traveler. I quite like being a posh boy.’
Youngest and posh are the last two words you would put together and expect them to stick. Still, it seems I have some work to do before I get last chick out of the nest for good. I’ve obviously feathered it too well.
I must also continue with my rehab programme – ‘My name is Teresa and I’m a member of Parents Anonymous. I am addicted to my children but I’m making progress – slowly.’