Monday, 21 September 2015

Letting the dust settle

Hello to you. How are you all? Up and at 'em, fair to middling or hiding under the covers? I confess that I am not feeling it today. I intend to share our wonderful holiday with you all this week (I bet you can't wait..), but at this precise moment I am feeling the weight of an empty bedroom and a son that has begun new adventures at Liverpool University.

Marc and I drove him there yesterday. I made up his bed, and fussed about putting his clothes away and lining up his toiletries. The three of us stood around staring at each other for a bit. It was odd; there were so many things that I wanted to say to Sam, but at the same time I acknowledged to myself that maybe now wasn't the time to do it. It was time for him to straighten his shoulders and face the world without me. This was highlighted by a conversation that we'd had in the car earlier:

"I need some more sun cream for my skin." (Sam has to wear factor 50 cream after his op in the summer. I forgot to take it out of my hand luggage, and had to leave it behind in New York).

"You'll have to go to Boots and get some."

"Great! And I guess that I won't be having my hair cut until December now."

"You'll have to find a hairdresser in Liverpool, Sam." (Sam looks at me in horror)

"You have to start doing these things for yourself now, mate."

"I don't even know how to wash my clothes!"

You may gather that my children have been rather molly coddled. I make no apologies for it. I was too. When I left home, I could neither cook or use a washing machine, and a myriad other mundane tasks seemed beyond my capabilities. I could roll a joint, pull a pint of beer, blow smoke rings, talk my way into night clubs for free and travel round the country on very little money. But I had no idea how to wash my smalls. Ridiculous, no?

But as we all know necessity is the mother of invention, and I gather that my mania for not mixing my whites with my coloureds was picked up from my mother through osmosis. While at Uni, I spent whole days at the launderette. Me and my friend Nina would make a packed lunch, buy a can of Diet Coke from the man with two thumbs' shop and happily spend our Tuesdays washing clothes. My whites remained pristine throughout four years of University. As for cooking, I'll admit that I was as hopeless when I finished Uni as when I started. I lived with people that could cook, and who cooked for me too. I am eternally grateful to Peter and Helena for sharing their pasta with me. In return I washed up for them, and bought them chocolate from the Burma garage.

I am hopeful that Sam has inherited my love of laundry and the ability to inspire pity in others. I'm sue his doe eyes will flatter some girl into mothering him. It may be the girl we saw wandering the corridors of his halls of residence, wearing a flimsy dressing gown and very little else. Actually, maybe not her. But someone equally as willing, although perhaps wearing more than just her underwear while making him his tea.

In short, I know in my heart of hearts that Sam will survive his first few weeks, and that it will all be okay. He texted last night to say that he was off out with a group of people, and that he was having a great time and not to worry. So although I will of course still worry, I know that all will be well. I just need some time to get used to it. That's allowed, right?

Leanne xx





32 comments:

  1. Stay strong Leanne, safe in the knowledge that he will have a wonderful time (we always do!) and if theres even the smallest thing you are right at the end of the phone to lend some loving motherly wisdom :)
    Let us know how much he loves it!
    (It's a lovely day for a beach walk)
    Abel x

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  2. Hi, My daughter could cook healthy and cheap meals for herself when she went to Uni, but we lived quite close, so guess what - she brought her washing home on a regular basis... They all find their own way to manage - you only run out of clean undies once!

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  3. Sending hugs - you can do too much for them. My lovingly bought grocery cupboard items as in 'I don't want you to run out of anything' were all donated to the food bank after my sons first year. If your son is going out with people now that's a good sign isn't it, take care of yourself this week & next xx

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  4. Oh I remember it all so well, I wept all the way home from Cardiff, it was so hard leaving him there. It will get better, there will be some phone calls asking how to do things but they survive. As for the washing, my son managed to get the hang of washing his clothes but not the bedding funnily enough, that came home in the holidays!

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  5. It will never be as difficult as this first time. Dropped our Sam off yesterday for his third year and it does get easier although the house feels strangely different without him and probably will do for a few days while we adjust. Looking forward to your New York post. Hugs,and be kind to yourself xo

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  6. Yesterday is the hardest it will be - it's always poignant but the next and subsequent times you will know that it does get better and that's a comfort. Also, I can't recommend Skype enough! Sending virtual hugs your way. xx

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  7. That's a hard day when they go off to college, I remember it well. I spoiled my daughter ever bit as much, but she did well on her own and I'm sure your son will too.

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  8. It's so hard when our babies leave. I do think university is a good stepping stone between home and the big wide world and I'm sure Sam will continue to make you proud xx

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  9. Sending you hugs!! Here's hoping you adjust to the change to your home swiftly and before you know it he'll be home for a reading week and Christmas! Looking forward to hearing about your holiday! xx

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  10. I'm still incapable at 42. Remember my University first day incredibly well though. Poor old mum and little sis crying.

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  11. Oh Leanne, a big moment indeed. I hope he has a wonderful time, filled with happy adventures. And maybe the odd girl cooking him tea in her underwear. I'm sending you a big hug and a virtual cup of tea. CJ xx

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  12. I worry much less about my eldest when he is at university and I have no idea what he is doing than when he is at home. You don't have to lie awake waiting for them to come home when they don't live at home. George has moved into a shared house this year and we took him up last week, I bought him a load of groceries and found it so hard not to put it all away for him. I think that's me being a control freak in the kitchen though rather than mollycoddling as I haven't had the urge to make his bed since he was 9. Presumably you have passed on your joint rolling skills so he'll be fine.

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  13. Hi Leanne and welcome back to the island. I hope you get used to Sam being away soon. I can't even begin to imagine how you are feeling just now, mine still being years away from moving out. My Sam just mentioned that he was going to be a home student. I am not sure if that's a good thing. There is a rumour making the rounds at Sam's school that his mum knows how and where to score a good supply for the said joint. I have no idea where that rumour originated. I am way better with keeping my whites white. Thinking of you! Christina xxx

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  14. Feeling for you, Leanne. Can't bear the thought of my children leaving home; thankfully it will be a while yet (at least that's one advantage of having kids late in life :-). Glad to hear you're back safe and sound xxx

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  15. We all adapt and we all learn and Sam will too. As for those of us left behind, well life goes on but it's good to feel a bit sad and mopey, it shows you're missing him! I'm sure you will feel better soon, but it is a bit like grieving so be kind to yourself.

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  16. I'm glad you're back, I have missed you. And have been wondering how you got on in NY. Probably a good thing you were away right up to sending off to uni day :o) I'm sure he'll be fine. L flatly refuses to do anything for himself when I'm there, but if I'm not he springs into action and low and behold can do the things he says he can't. It's boys, right? XX

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  17. Hang in there, Leanne. It's going to come together. It may take a little time but he'll figure out everything he needs to know. In a lot of ways, I envy you both. You both sound like you know how to have fun and not take yourselves too seriously, which were skills I sorely lacked when I went to college. I'd had too much responsibility heaped on me too soon, and I was world-weary in a way that young people shouldn't be. I'm hoping my children will be more like you and Sam when it's time for them to fledge. You and Sam are going to be just fine, I feel it in my bones.

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  18. That girl doesn't sound as though she will be much help with laundry!!! I am sure that he will work out how to feed and clothe himself. Or use the post to send his laundry home.... Hope you are OK! Hope you had a good time away! xx

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  19. Must be a strange to leave him behind and it's a long way back to Cornwall from up here. He'll be fine, I'm sure, and all that learning to do the laundry is part of it. Dreading the day my daughter leaves as there'll just be us and the dog left but we have her for a few more years yet. And Uni terms are short so he'll be back before you know it...with a pile of washing no doubt. Looking forward to hearing about New York. We're planning our trip there at half term at present.

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  20. I know just how you feel, having gone through that experience with both my children. It is a difficult time for them and us as you all adjust. I'm sure Sam will make some great friends and have a good time. Thinking of you. Sarah x

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  21. Hi, our middle boy was our first one at uni about 6 yrs ago. Like you, I'd always done everything for him and his 2 siblings. However even I was shocked when at the start of the Easter term in his first year he and the rest of his house mates were diagnosed with scabies!! Turns out he' d not changed his bed since I first made it for him the previous September!! P.s. we are a clean family.

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  22. I sympathise, my middle son went to uni last year, but he was quite keen for me to go once we'd carried all his stuff up 2 flights of stairs in the halls of residence. It was difficult getting used to him not being there as he's the most outgoing and cheeriest of my 3. This year he went back to a new flat with some of his flat mates from last year, they were like old pros! So renting his own flat, paying all the bills, he really is out in the big bad world instead of partially protected at the halls. They cope with it alot better than us parents do. Looking forward to hearing about your state side adventure x

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  23. Of course its allowed. I can't imagine what it's like to have your lad fly the nest, I am welling up just thinking about it (not helping am I? sorry....) but anyway, the point is, you have created a wonderful young man who sounds like he's got right into uni life already and in a few weeks he'll come crashing through the door in the holidays, laden down with washing and stories and will seem 3 inches taller to boot. At that point, after the bear hug, take a moment to pat yourself on the back. But for now, chocolate biscuits and gin, I find they cure most sad days x

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  24. Oh goodness, so many changes for you!! I send you huge hugs my friend. He will be ok,of course he will, although he'll probably not manage his laundry system with the impressive attention to detail that you and I do. But he will be ok, because you raised him right. I will be in bits when my two go, and I can imagine you must feel bereft. But don't worry, I'm sure Olly and Alfie will keep you busy... ;-) xx

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  25. I know exactly how you're feeling, I had it all two years ago, but I'm here to tell you that it all gets better. Daniel's just about to start his third year, is having a wonderful time and has matured and become independent. It's actually wonderful to see them change from boy to man and know that you've done a good job, afterall, that's what being a parent is all about. Another strange thing has happened whilst he's been away at university too, he's gone from a very picky eater in to someone who eats lots of different things, it's amazing when he comes home and will eat whatever I put in front of him. Oh, and the laundry thing, he muddles through. I have to ring him and tell him it's time he changed his bedding, but apart from that he seems to be managing fine. I'm sure you'll see lots of changes in Sam too, it's such a brilliant experience for them, he'll love it. (I've got it all to come again next year when Eleanor goes!).

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  26. I remember the empty bedroom feeling so well from when my son left for uni. and then 3 years later, my twin daughters. It does get easier and you will be amazed at the independent and mature person that returns at the first holiday. Take pride in the wonderful job you have done in raising that confident, amazing person that is your son, you deserve it. ( I hope he enjoys uni life in my home town.) ;-) xx Alex

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  27. It's the second hardest part of the job. Having survived the first part of getting them to adulthood without too many scrapes and not too many grey hairs you are then expected just to send them off out into the big wide world. It will get better and he will have the time of his life.

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  28. Thank you for making me laugh. And I'm sure you must be feeling a lot of feelings right now, I can't imagine my girls ever leaving home (that's like a million years away, RIGHT?).

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  29. I'm sure he'll be fine! You're right and as a daughter who just got out of college, I can reassure you that even when we think we can't do something we figure it out somehow! :)

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  30. It is a weird time isn't it? They are doing what they want to do and what you want them to do and their doing it well means you got it right but it still makes you feel odd. I remember thinking I was doing ok and then suddenly having to stop the car and sit in a layby for ten minutes with tears pouring down my face because she'd gone. I had a full time job and never thought the empty nest thing would really get me. Wrong.

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  31. Not going to lie, I worry about Joe starting school so when university time comes around I'll probably be a complete wreck. But you're much more sensible than me. You're a great parent and he'll be fine and make good decisions. And even the odd dodgy one will come right.
    Be nice to yourself - and remember, university terms last about five minutes anyway.
    S x

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