As a mum of two young adults, ‘empty nest syndrome’ is something I have personal experience of … one of my ‘children’ is already at university and it won’t be too long before his sister follows behind. It’s a time of confusing emotions – pride, happiness, worry and loss. We all want the best for our kids and want them to have the best experiences that they possibly can. We also know that parenting is about bringing up our children to be self-reliant, happy, caring adults … we know that right? So why is dropping them off at uni so hard..? Because it really is!! Whether it’s your first child, your last child or your only one, there’s no doubt that this really is a biggie.
My son is now in his third year – I’ve come a long way since, two Septembers ago, a friend asked me how I was in the street, and I burst into tears and had to be escorted to a café for a tea and a chat (Thank you Fiona!). Two years on and things have changed – I still don’t like drops offs and I still really miss him but, aside from that, our relationship remains pretty much unscathed – he’s still my son, I’m still his mum and we still have the same conversations, silly arguments and share the same sense of humour as we always did. And that’s the nub of it … when your kids go off to uni, there’s this anxiety and fear that everything will change. As it is, what really changes is geography – it takes a bit of getting used to not washing someone’s clothes, helping with homework or arguing about what TV programme to watch and you undoubtedly WILL miss your baby. But the important things really CAN stay the same. I know that I’ll be trying to convince myself of that this time next year when my second one goes … but I also know, from personal experience, that it is true and it will be ok.