For twenty five years I have been caring for my family, each one leaving home as they embark on the next stage of their lives. For the last twenty years Hayley has needed so much input and care that I've almost forgotten what living for myself feels like. I have invested so much of my life into my offspring and everything I have done has revolved around their needs.
It's strange. No picking up after kids, no reminding that it is bedtime, no overflowing washing basket, and no loud music resounding round the house! I can sit down and watch the late news without interruption and can get up in the morning knowing that I only have to get myself ready. I guess that when you have a child that requires a lot more support it just becomes part of the routine to put their needs first.
So I can't get used to it. I miss her constant chatter and funny observations. Life as Hayley sees it! No more rushing home from work in time to get her off the school bus, or very early mornings getting ready for the school bus that always arrived at a ridiculously early time to get her to a school that's only ten minutes drive away. Actually I could get used to this!
Hayley has phoned. In fact every day we have heard from her and it has been great to listen to her chattering away about what she is up to and the new friends she has made. Life has changed so much for her and it's only now that I realise just how I've indulged my youngest. I keep worrying that she's got this and that, and that she is able to wash her hair properly and run a bath on her own and....!
Anyway this is what we've all wanted for so long, and much as it pains me to say, this had to happen for any of us to progress in our lives. Hayley has craved for independence for such a long time and we have been determined not to make her so reliant on us. After all she needs to learn to enjoy life apart from us.
Yes it's strange to have a house bereft of offspring, but isn't that what happens to thousands of ordinary families every day?