No1 son left for university this morning – I got up at 5.50am to wave him and N off on the long drive southwards (in grim weather). I was surprised at how much of a wrench it was – it finally dawned on me that this is the first step in him leaving home for good, and not being here at all – at some point, not to long away, he will have his own home, somewhere that’s not here, somewhere a long way away. For the past 19 years, I have seen him almost every day (apart from the odd school trip etc), have known what was going on in his life, have been there for him, fed him, talked to him, hugged him – and that is coming to an end.
I know there will always be a connection, but if he is anything like me, weeks could go by without him ringing home, and I won’t know what his life is like, or what’s happening to him – he has to detach, to leave home, to become independant – all these are good things, but I am finding the detaching more painful than I thought I would.
I am getting over it, and I will get over it – and I am happy for him that he has embarked on this new, exciting phase of his life, and proud that we as parents have brought him up to be a confident, happy person who is capable of this independance and who will, I hope, do well and be happy at what he is doing.
I guess I am just indulging myself a bit, by letting myself wallow in these feelings. On one level, they are actually quite encouraging – I thought my emotions were rather too well controlled and buried, and have been afraid, from time to time, that I am not really capable of feeling love for people (including myself). But this would seem to prove that I do love No1 son, otherwise I would have waved him off without a qualm. Maybe it is just that I am not good at recognising the positive emotions in myself, but they are actually there. If I genuinely didn’t feel love for anyone, people would pick up on it, and it would surely have affected my parenting and my relationship with the boys, and I see no evidence of that. On the contrary, they seem to be happy, bright, confident boys, and other people seem to like them a lot – so maybe I haven’t done too bad a job.
To end on a positive note, and going back to the ‘getting up at a reasonable time’ theme of recent days – not only did I get up at 5.50am to wave the Uni-bound party off, but I got up again at 7.30am to drive the other two boys to the paper shop to collect their sunday rounds (which are very heavy), and then dropped two lots of papers round No3 son’s round for him – all without coffee and without being too grumpy. I consider that a very Positive Thing!
Plus N has sent me photos of No1 son’s room and hall, so I can picture him there, and I know he is safely installed in his room, has met some of the other students he’s sharing with, has had a meal, and is off out – so all is well.