Thursday, January 3, 2013

Leaving home

She is sitting at the kitchen table, absent-mindedly stirring her coffee. It is still dark outside and the house is quiet – at least another hour before anybody else is going to stir.

Weekend. Today is the day she has been preparing for for so long – and yet she feels entirely unprepared. Unprepared and filled with a certain amount of dread.

Today her daughter will be leaving for university. Her baby!
Suddenly the last 18 years seem to have evaporated into nothing.

She remembers times when life seemed to drag on, when she felt overwhelmed with the amount of work and responsibility and stress of parenting. Times when she secretly hoped that this time might end, her children leave home and she “get her life back”.
How foolish of her! What life had she wanted back, exactly?
Suddenly she is flooded with the clarity and understanding that this has been her life. Her family, her husband, her children ARE her life!

She remembers the day her daughter was born. Holding her in her arms for the first time. The difficult and stressful period for both of them, trying to get the hang of this breast-feeding thing – and then never looking back and enjoying the closeness and the bond of the nursing for the next year.
She remembers leaving her at the school on her first school day, and crying when she got home. As if deep down she knew that this was the first glimpse of the pain a mother feels when she lets her children go …
She remembers picnics in the park and holidays at the seaside.
She remembers the first bicycle and the tears and bruised knees that came with it.
She remembers sleepless nights and caring for her sick child.
She remembers cuddles on the sofa and songs in the garden.
She remembers arguments over homework and household chores.

She remembers … and she realises that they have been on a journey all along, and that this is only another step on this journey.

She looks into the darkened sitting room and her eye catches the sight of the packed bags and filled boxes. Not long now …

She hopes that despite the distance and the new life her daughter will be making for herself, they will still be friends and continue to share their lives as they unfold.
She hopes and prays that they have taught their daughter well, and that their teaching and love and protection has prepared for the world out there.
She prays.

The she hears a sound. A door opening and soft footsteps across the upstairs landing.

She gets up from the kitchen table, wipes her eyes and turn to put the kettle on.
Today is the day she has been preparing for for so long ...

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