My youngest child turns 20 next month.
I will no longer own a teenager.
I've owned a teenager since 2003.
That's 16 years of my life held hostage.
Or is it?
I stopped being a full time mum in 2013, when the youngest child left home, aged 13 and entrusted his teenage years to his boarding school.
They did a good job, there were issues, of course there were, long distance parenting of 6000 miles and a 2 hour time difference with limited access to the internet for us both (me with constant power cuts and him with living in a 17th century house with thick stone walls) wasn't easy. Holidays and visits weren't the same as living under the same roof 24/7.
Each teenager was different, One needed a lot of support from external influences in his life, another was fairly self sufficient from the age of 14 and both these left home at 18. The second youngest was almost 20 when he left home, the early teens were traumatic for us both, the later teens were very pleasant.
Every stage of parenting has been just that.
I can no longer write about my experiences as a mum of teens, than I can write about my birth experiences, it is all a distant memory now.
I can recall events in life, strops and tantrums on holidays, disagreements about days out and the endless fights amongst the 4 brothers. But I can't recall my feelings, I can't recall who did what and when.
I'm not traumatised by raising 4 teenage boys, it just doesn't matter anymore in that respect. Heck I have no idea what day of the week or time any of the kids were born. I need to consult their red books for that.
Each stage of parenting is different and with 4 boys and a girl with profound disabilities, life was never going to be straight forward, merging two sets of children together as a full time family was never going to be easy, but we did it. We all survived and we all enjoy spending time together, not as a family of 7, there are too many issues for that, too much distance and family commitments, but in small groups, visiting us in Dubai or us seeing them on our trips to the UK.
The teenage years went a long time ago in our household, the empty nest has been managed and it's no longer an issue I'm having to adapt to.
It'll be grandchildren next, but I won't be starting over again, I won't be parenting, times have changed on how that is all done and there's still the distance to consider.
That won't change my life anymore than the youngest child turning 20 has.