Saturday 11 January 2014

Watch out, Empty nest syndrome about to kick in here

This post was written as an article a few months ago. Today is the day my last child boards a plane for the UK and leaves home,

'I got in my car the other day, drove half way to my destination and something made me stop and turn round. I could actually see out the rear view mirror without an array of boxes and I remembered my son had taken my car to the gym the night before and emptied everything into the garage. My car has and still is full of boxes since mid October with Santa Shoebox gifts and donations for various facilities. I was bloody annoyed that I had to re load my car and when I made my 1st stop at the post box I discovered the key wasn't where I’d left it.
A few weeks ago I need to use the super glue, I opened the drawer, removed it, used it and put it back and then broke down in tears. Why? Well I'm suffering with empty nest syndrome a little.
My 14yo moved back to the UK in August after 2 and a half years with us in South Africa, his education was suffering and we made a decision to move him back into boarding school. We received his first school report and he’s achieving at and above the expected level. So happy for him that he’s doing so well, considering his last report from the school here ‘he’s not making an effort, could do better and his hand writing, reading and spelling is atrocious’ well we did try telling the school, backed up with Ed psych reports that he’s dyslexic and dysgraphic.
So what do I do to fill the gap, volunteer work and plenty of it. I just have to keep going. It’s Santa shoebox season and for the past few weeks I've been grateful the youngest child isn’t here. The 18yo is self sufficient, studying hard for his exams, leaving a mess everywhere; dominating the telly, taking my car and making me book with him when I want to use it. He leaves on January the 10th 2014 the same day the 14yo returns after his Christmas visit, Santa shoebox season will be over. It’ll be the middle of summer and too hot to muster up any enthusiasm to do anything.
I’m trying to be brave at the moment. I wasn’t when the first 2 boys left home; I was a wreck when the 14yo left so I assume the airport trip with the 18yo in January will be difficult also.
To be honest I’m ready for the 18yo to leave home now. He’s ready also. I’d like to use my car when I want, get a drink of coke out the fridge without going to the shops to buy more. Have money in purse, the freedom to go to the gym when I want, the remote control. The day to myself. But all day every day I’m not ready for.
So at the moment I’m enjoying the time I have left with him, his exams are over, I’m not moaning about my car or the coke or even the empty milk bottle. I’m looking forward to my 14yo coming out to visit again in August rather than worrying about what I'm going to do when they return to the UK.
 It’s hubby I feel sorry for though, he doesn't know how I’ll react to having an empty nest, but he’s made it quite clear, there will be no more kids.'

I'm afraid I've not enjoyed the last few weeks, I've been on count down to them leaving. I've focused on the 'what will I do with myself' rather than the time I've got left. Yes there will still be holidays, them here and us to the UK, but life as a full time mum has finished for me today. Nearly 22 years of being at someone else's beck and call, 22 years of complaining about the mess, lack of ME time, 22 years of school uniforms and pack lunches.
I've a busy few weeks ahead of me now, deliberately planned by hubby to try and ease the pain, fill the gap. I have bedrooms to clean, stuff to store and take to charity shops, a trip to Durban and Dubai to take a break, take my mind off things. But I know what I was like when the 14yo left in August, when the others left home, also aged 18, and I'm fully aware it's going to be tough.

1 comment:

  1. I suffer from empty nest syndrome when all the kids are away, but when they return, it is a whole different story. I enjoy their company, but they are adults now (19, 21, 24) and a lot harder to live with.