Empty Nest Syndrome, or The End of an Era

This year has been quite difficult for me, emotionally, because it’s been a series of “final” things. The final parents’ evening at Katie’s school. The final day she came home from school. Our final family holiday before she left home. The final lunchbox packed, school letter signed, teacher spoken to.

I’m immensely proud of Katie and everything she has achieved. She’s a university student now, enjoying her degree course and a slightly weird social life, settled into her new home.

I’m also a little sad. Where did those years go? She was a baby just a moment ago, and now she’s an independent adult, finding her feet in this big bad world. And all I can do is stand back and be there for her if she needs me.

It’s take the best part of three months to get used to the house without her. Not so much because I miss her – though of course I do – but more because her going away has changed the dynamic of the family. It’s like some of the energy has been sucked out of the house and it’s a quieter, calmer but less fun place without her.

Of course she’s home for a few weeks now and don’t we know it – the house is noiser and messier – and I love it! it’s going to take a while to get used to her being gone again in January.

So last night we went to Katie’s school for her A Level presentation evening. Every year the school organises a special evening where  the students who took exams in the summer get their certificates. The school also show photos of social events/trips/holidays from the previous year, teachers talk about how wonderful the students are, some musical ensembles play and then everyone goes home.

It can be a bit boring – clapping enthusiastically for your own child and her friends and less so for the 100 other kids you don’t know – and it turned out that Katie didn’t really want to go – but she realised that it was really important for me to go this year because it was the very last time. So we went, and we clapped, and I shed a tear when Katie went on stage to collect her certificates, and again when we left the school. Call my soppy, call me a daft old bat but for me it was the end of an era – and I reserve my right to be emotional!.

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