My daughter and I have grown up together. I had her fairly young and learned about being mum at pretty much the same rate she learned about being her. It seems to have all worked out okay: I’m still her mum and she’s definitely 100% her 🙂
Daughter-dearest left home after finishing her first uni degree, heading off to work overseas for a year, then travelling around South America and Europe for several months before heading back to home base. Having flexed her wings and found that they provided more than adequate lift, it wasn’t long before she moved into a share house with some friends.
At the time many of my friends asked whether our nest felt empty, whether I felt sad or even lonely with her gone again so soon. In short, the answer was a simple – but firm – no. I was both pleased and proud when she moved out of the family home to set up independently. I guess it’s a bit silly, but I had one of those ‘Yes!’ moments, a moment when I did a happy dance and thought, ‘Wow, she grew up – we made it – how good is that?!’
It was enormous fun to help her in small (and unobtrusive) ways: with the move, by buying some bits & pieces for her kitchen and by dropping off a banana loaf (or whatever baking I felt in the mood for) every now and then. Share houses being generally notoriously random in the pantry department, both she and her two housemates always received these deliveries with enthusiasm and rather raptor-like self-interest 😛
She moved house once or twice after that first share house – including going to the UK for a while, then to Melbourne – before settling back in Perth and putting down some more permanent roots with a partner. For the past few years they’ve been developing a small acreage about an hour out of the city, digging swales, planting trees, improving the soil, camping out occasionally and, finally, building a house.
This last element has been a stressful journey for them, with many building and bank complications along the way. For a variety of reasons they ended up moving in with us for a few months whilst the house was being completed. This meant that our house of two plus dog(1) & chickens(2), became a house of four plus dog(1), kittens(3), chickens(6) & quail(3) for most of 2015. Quite the little menagerie, really.
This weekend the move to their new house finally happened. They’d already spent a week or so unpacking all their furniture from storage and on Friday they hired a truck to move the many (many!) pot plants and assorted paraphernalia from our house to theirs. After a good night’s sleep (here) and some final packing, they loaded up the kittens (now almost full grown) and headed for home.
It was a great feeling to wave them goodbye, knowing that the next stage of their dream can finally start to take shape. There’ll be days of unpacking and settling in, followed by days of planting and building. But there’ll also be many evenings of simply sitting on their verandah and kicking back – just enjoying being at home in their own home at last.
As a mum, I couldn’t ask for more. But I must admit to a little lurch of my heart when daughter-dearest brought her adorable kittens in one by one to say goodbye to me. Our cat free, guest-free, quail and chicken-free life will seem just that little bit more ordinary and pale for a while. I’ll miss them – all of them… (well, perhaps not the very noisy chickens) … but I look forward to some ‘grandpets’ from SunChaser Ocicats in the not too distant future – and to joining them on their verandah from time to time to share some of that serenity.