I look out of my window across a drear landscape, lit only by yellowing leaves on the rambler rose, and the Caramac-coloured leaves on the sycamores by the gate. A white gleam from the caravan in the field opposite provides a foil for the colours. The sky is the colour of a grey dove's underwing. A breeze stirs the arching brambles and ramblers to fidgeting. As a day, it much like any November day. But it is . . . different.
Yesterday we helped our son move out to house-share with a friend some 25 miles away. We knew it was coming - after his foreign travels this summer he was merely waiting for a decent pay-cheque (now he has full time hours) and then we knew he would be gone. It will make our lives much easier, as the past couple of winters have been very difficult when we have had to go out at 8 p.m. at night to fetch him from work (a 20 mile round trip each time) and this year, get him to early shifts starting at 8 or even 7 a.m. With ice and snow on the ground, this was never a welcome journey.
He had all he needed up in his attic rooms, and just appeared for meals and to occasionally watch something on tv with us which we all enjoyed. So why does the house now feel so empty? A threshold has been crossed and a step taken into a future we cannot fathom.
I am delaying the moment when I go upstairs to tidy up and make up the spare single bed from storage in the next room. Then it will all be underlined. My children have grown up . . .
Early evening, and I am just adding a note to say thank you all SO MUCH for your support and your positive comments. Thank heavens for friends - I feel so much better having read them and cheered that shadypinesquilter took time to post for the first time. Whilst I know it is a job well done to raise your children so they feel confident to leave home and make their own way in the world, it is still hard to give yourself a mental shake and move on. Now WE have some freedom again - after nearly 26 years of child-raising.
When I bit the bullet and went up to clean and tidy his room, my husband came with me, and that always makes things seem better, to have your partner helping. I made hundreds of spiders homeless as I vacuumed the beams and nooks and crannies, and we made three heaps of belongings: rubbish, rubbish??, and keep (for the moment). We put up the spare single bed, put on fresh bedding and aired it with the electric blanket. We put unwanted? books carefully back on the bookshelf, along with a pile of discarded PC games and old CDs. Clothing was neatly folded and put away until he has room to have the case with his suits and better clothes in it delivered (Friday probably). There is another pile of books to be donated to charity and a few passed on or sold. I feel very much better for having got the first of the three rooms sorted. I may redecorate there in the New Year/when it warms up, to freshen it up a bit and not everyone wants a red half-timbered wall (though the carpet is red and the rest of the room white).
Right, we don't have to turn out to pick him up at 8 tonight, nor do I have to cook another evening meal at 8.30, so we will settle down and relax.