Friday 9 August 2013

How am I going to deal with the issue that my 14yo son leaves home next week?

I’m not allowed to blog about my 14yo anymore, I’m also not allowed to post photos on face book, without his approval, OK I abide by his rules, it’s his life, not mine to share, I hate it when others do it to me, so fair is fair. But what I can talk about is how what my 14yo does affects me.

He is returning to boarding school in the UK to follow the GCSE and A level system. He was a boarder prior to us relocating to South Africa in Jan 2011. We’ve had a fab time here with him. We always wanted to give our children the experience of living in a different country, culture and way of life. Unfortunately by the time the opportunity arose 3 of our kids had already left home, but they’ve had the opportunity to visit for extended periods of time.

Now the balance shifts, there will only be the 3 of us here in South Africa now with every other single family member 6000 miles away………My dad isn’t in the best of health, the youngest will be living near his dad, aunts, uncles and cousins and 2 of his siblings, his other brother lives in Leeds, but currently he only sees them once a year, although his aunty (my ex SIL) and niece have been out to visit as have the grandparents and hubbies sister.

So he will be OK, he has his family on his doorstep, exeat weekends and half terms and visits in between. There are students at his boarding school he went to prep school with, some familiar faces with the staff and an environment he thrived in, misses and is looking forward to returning to.

But what about me? I’m his mum and although as with all kids, they usually manage far better than we realise, I’m worried about how I’ll manage. I’ve been a mum for 21 years; yes I still have my 18yo here. I’m sure he’ll fill the gap. There has been very little difference to my life as a mum when I went from 5 kids to 2 kids, but they left home for different reasons.

The 25yo is profoundly disabled and went into residential care aged 12, that was hard, but for different reasons. We visit her when we return to the UK, but she has no understanding of us not being there and takes at least 2 visits before she settles back into a familiar routine and gets quite upset if we take her away from her home for too long. The 23yo left at 18 to join the army and was stationed in Germany when we moved here. The 21yo also left home aged 18 to start a management training course in hospitality and has since moved from Reading to Cheltenham to Leeds. The 18yo is preparing himself to join the Marines and could be leaving home with the next 6 months, but the 14yo? I’m supposed to have at least another 4 years to prepare myself for him leaving home.

I’ll be able now to focus on my volunteer work, raising funds and awareness for people with disabilities in South Africa, finish the book I started writing, run social media accounts for charities, advise on child welfare issues, develop short course life skills programmes, walk my dog, swim daily, finish my degree in Criminology, finally get round to scanning all my photos prior to 2003, improve my sewing skills and branch into making my own clothes as well as making and selling my hand bags.

Lots to do to keep me busy, but I don’t think it will replace the gap in my heart for my son leaving and my family being so far away, but it’ll help and I’ll look forward to December 19th when my son returns for Christmas.


  1. Oh, that's a big life change.

    1. Should be used to it by now, but I suppose it makes for an interesting life

  2. I am, relatively, new to this Parenthood lark but, I already can feel your Ouch.
    Our family is currently spread over 4 countries, although thankfully, brother in law is shortly to return to the UK.
    Even so we will have parents in 2 different countries.
    The goodbyes seem to be getting harder to get through & harder to get over.
    Personally, I feel this is the highest of all the Expat Taxes.

    1. Having family so far away isn't always such a bad thing, but I find it us that are relied on when their is an issue/ill health etc. We are seen as the stronger members of the family and are without 'issues' ourselves.