He’d had a fantastic time caving, gorge scrambling (whatever that is!) and hill climbing (he got to the top of Pen-y-Fan as he claims the photo shows, but all I can see is cloud! Still, the views from lower down look stunning).
Memories of my own gap year
As the children weren’t allowed to take mobile phones we had no contact for the eight days they were away and I found that harder than I expected.
It made me think about my gap year when I was 18. I went to America for three months and I think I contacted home only two or three times. It was more expensive and more difficult then, of course, but my poor mum!
Keeping in touch with the kids
We always said no news is good news, but I’m glad communication is so much easier nowadays. It has certainly made the transition from having three children at home to only two easier to handle.
Bex is having a great time at uni, and is really good about texting her news, as well as calling for a weekly update. I’ll probably find it more difficult when it’s Billy, my last, who has left, as the two boys still keep me busy with cooking, laundering, supporting homework and general taxiing around!
"Helping your children grow roots and wings"
I once heard a phrase about rearing children which rung true for me and I have done my best to achieve it: 'To help your offspring to grow both roots and wings'.
It’s not always easy to wave goodbye to your children as they become independent, but it’s so much easier if you know they’ll be coming home! And the security their roots give them provides the confidence they need to spread their wings.
Encouraging our children on their steps to independence
I wrote about children’s books in my blog last week, but it’s music I’m thinking of now. The Abba song ‘Slipping through my fingers’ is one that can always bring tears to my eyes.
I didn’t really know it as an Abba song, and first noticed it in the Mamma Mia musical which we enjoyed as Olley’s birthday treat a few years ago. And of course Meryl Streep sang it beautifully in the film.
It’s an emotional song about a parent watching as their young daughter heads off to school, but it’s easy to translate it to teenagers leaving home. I heard songwriter Bjorn Anderson on the radio saying that ‘Slippping’ is one of the few songs of truth that he’s written. It was inspired by the moment he waved his seven-year-old daughter off to school on her own for the first time. She was wearing her bag on her back, she turned to wave to him and he realised these were steps towards freedom for her.
It’s so important we encourage our children on those vital steps, whatever their age, but let’s hope they’ve grown strong enough roots to bring them home for regular visits. I recommend Richard Jackson’s Root Boost!
How do you deal with an empty nest?
Do you have a song that has deep meaning for you? Or any tips on coping with ‘empty nest’ syndrome. I’d love to hear – we could start a support group for redundant mums!!
Do take care