Something really weird has happened this weekend. I am really calm.
After dropping my daughter and her mate at the airport for three weeks of interrailing around Europe, I have been waiting for me to spiral into worries and “what ifs” and possible hyperventilation. Close friends and family have been expecting this too.
But I seem to be in an oasis of serenity, which I am enjoying but is really out of character and a little unnerving.
A year ago the thought of my daughter backpacking around Europe filled me with dread. It didn’t matter that “this is what everyone does when they finish school” as she told me. I never did…
I was secretly wondering if I could curtail this expedition and I must admit when my daughter contracted Glandular Fever in May, I did fleetingly wonder if this was the “buy out” clause.
But the reality is that whilst she may not have had the wherewithal a year ago. This last year of school has prepared her for greater independence and thinking on her feet. I suppose a lot can happen in a child’s development in a year – and whilst the skills teenagers acquire are more subtle than the ones they learn in the toddler years, they are just as vital. And from what I have seen this past academic year, now I feel she can really look after herself.
Of course, I am not saying the irrational feelings have disappeared, and I can’t help but worry about safety, but I do believe if I allow myself to go down that road, I would never let my kids’ do anything and that would be a shame.
I think this is how I feel now. I want my kids to explore, experiment and grab life with both hands. And it is right and proper that I should not be there to second-guess and catch them if they fall – not now. But if they need me, I will kick into action, in a heartbeat.
I am, of course, missing my daughter like crazy – I won’t see her for three weeks and this is the longest we have been apart. I also know it is only day 3 so I have a way to go!
But I am getting a few texts. I trying not to bombard her with communication, but if she gets in touch I am quick to respond. And I know as the trip progresses that the texts will be less frequent – but this is my issue, not hers.
This is another rite of passage and something wonderful for her to experience. So, as I dropped the girls at the airport on Friday and I hugged them goodbye I said, “Have fun, be safe and try not to end up in hospital or jail.” Pretty sound advice from me, I feel…
Maybe I have finally switched my hysteria for realism…and maybe I have finally grown up…she certainly has…