Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just thinking

Our sweet Daughter 2 got made redundant from her job as an architect in April because of the collapse in the building trade. Since then, she's been temping as a secretary. Next week, however, she starts a six-week job (which might be extended if the work is there) at an architect's in London. She needs to go to London in due course anyway, since her fiancé is there, trying to make a living as an actor. They've had a long-distance relationship for over six years.

We're pleased for her, of course. But life will be empty without her. At the moment, she visits a lot, knowing that the Aged Parents love to see her. She's a fantastic daughter.

I don't like London. I'd rather she lived anywhere else.


Our lovely son has been away from home for two and a bit years now. It's astonishing how life goes on. People tell me I'll get used to it but I don't really. Sort of. But not in any useful way. He came home for a few days last week and left behind some clothes. I've just ironed them and shed a little tear.

I like to find words for how all this feels and it occurred to me a while ago that it's a bit like unrequited love. In this case, I know they do love us. But no one loves anyone like a parent loves a child.

Daughter 1 is still in Edinburgh, which is a blessing, though actually she and her husband are down in England, visiting his parents, this weekend.

No one tells you about all this when you're contemplating having a baby. They tell you about sleepless nights. But not how fast it all goes and what it's like afterwards.




16 comments:

  1. Oh Isabelle. We're at the rough patch. But wasn't it all worth it? Would you trade anything? Even if they had told you, would you NOT have had those babies? It's oh, so bittersweet. XO

    ReplyDelete
  2. I could let you have 2 for a nominal fee.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, see my kids are 9 and 7 so this is a long way off, but you HAVE told me what it's going to be like, and I am going to do the sensible thing and pretend I haven't heard it because I don't want to think about it AT ALL.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'd rather have my lovely, reasonable daughter back anyday than the the stroppy teenage/whiney toddler aged 92 that I have at present! I got used to not having a child at home a long time ago and remembering my own 20s and 30s one thinks so differently about one's ties to parents.
    When I was pregnant, my elderly midwife told me to remember that my children would grow up and leave but hopefully my husband would still be there...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I see riseoutofme's nominal fee and raise you "I'll pay you to take mine for a while!"

    Seriously though, I don't want to think too hard about when our two are no longer around. And for you, at least London is (a) not in an actual war zone and (b) in the same time zone as you so you can still phone and chat online and all that, and I know it's not the same, but it's better than a lot of the alternatives.

    ReplyDelete
  6. So very very right...mother love is bittersweet isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  7. There's an awful lot they don't tell you in advance about motherhood....

    London isn't far away (for your daughter or my son), and being on the East Coast train line helps, but it isn't that easy to pop in for lunch with your mum, is it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Two members of my immediate family in Japan, one away with the new girlfriend - all so very strange. Their bedrooms are dark and empty and the washing machine is silent. I made flapjacks as though it would summon them back.

    ReplyDelete
  9. PS Perhaps I could adopt your daughter. My mother took in students and lodgers when we left so the nest filled up again very quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love the way you mark all your family occasions with a fantastic looking cake!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congratulations to Daughter 2! Getting work these days is so tough. I know it must be hard for you, but I hope it works out for her.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh my, I'm going to have to go with what Stomper Girl said and push those thoughts far, far away from me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Brigitte9:18 am

    No no, I don't think it's unrequited love. They rather feel very secure in our unconditional love, which in the end enables them to go out into the world and have a life of their own. Just as we did, didn't we? :-) Back then.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I guess it's like any kind of grief, all the wise words and count-your-blessings bracing advice is just useless and unhelpful. It's just crap and hurt and there we are. We survive until we don't. Sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sorry, that should have been 'are useless and unhelpful'.

    No excuse for bad grammar.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've just found your blog and it's so nice to read about someone else's very similar feelings about their empty nest. It all goes by so fast, when you thought it was forever, doesn't it?

    ReplyDelete