Although I went to many open days with her, I never actually thought the eldest would go to university. Whenever I considered, really considered, the possibility, I pushed it to the back of my mind and thought about something else.
Her first choice was Glasgow, about 230 miles away, 4 hours on a good run. Eventually, she was offered her second choice which turned out to be Manchester, a very doable 40 miles away. Phew!
So, on a rainy Saturday afternoon in late September , we packed the car up and dropped her off at her Halls of Residence. A cold, prison like place , with long corridors and a nasty smell. I made up the bed with her things from home and hurriedly said goodbye, reminding her that a call home every now and again would be greatly appreciated.
We made the car journey home in silence and went to bed early, unsure of how we were going to deal with our ‘new’ normal. The house was quiet, meal times became sedate affairs with the youngest no longer competing for attention. The house stayed tidy and the bathroom toiletries remained, for the most part, well stocked. It was horrible!
I had to close the door to her bedroom because I couldn’t bear to see how tidy it was, it is never tidy when she is at home. We all just danced around one another not actually saying what we were feeling, not wanting to upset anyone else.
In October, she celebrated her 19th birthday, we couldn’t get up the motorway quick enough to collect her. We went to the local pub for dinner and we all just fell back into our sarcastic, poking fun at each other, way of being. The girls constantly talked, laughed, joked and were very noisy!
A few days later, when we were walking the dog, I just said it – ‘I missed her!’ Suddenly, the three of us began to chatter and admit that it we were all feeling the same, the house was too quiet, too empty, it didn’t feel the same anymore.
From then on, we stopped being scared to tell each other, it became ok to miss her, we didn’t have to pretend we didn’t!
However, we agreed that it is fantastic that she has made it to university and was following her dream. It is amazing because she has learning challenges that I will write about one day! She has had to work so hard and continues to do so.
We are so very proud of you E and miss you everyday, but thankfully when you come home, it’s like you have never been away! Now about that room of yours…………………… X
Have a lovely day!