A tip to Mr Spock and the Star Trek, which I grew up with, while searching some inner depths over the last 24 hours.
A move away from my normal business content to something of a more personal nature, a Blog around the parent side of my life, touching on the carers side as well. This is for all those Mum's and Dads who have taken their only or youngest/last child to University this autumn; I hope it helps.
Not sure how comfortable I am sharing this emotional side, not what we are brought up to do as males in England. However several conversations are concepts have come my way in recent weeks that lead me to believe I should explore this facet more.
Some eight years ago my wife and I had to take our son, then just under 11, to a residential special school. This was partly due to his Autism, partly to my wife's own disabilities and partly due to the local authority being unable to meet his needs in County following a, subsequently overturned, permanent exclusion for being a health and safety hazard. He had, and still has, no speech so we could not explain to him why he was not coming home with us - it was a tough day. I recount this to set some background, although it is not the full background.
As tough as the above was, we could apply the logic that he would benefit from better care and support than we could offer at home, or the local authority could provide for him. In addition it would allow my wife and his sister to live very different lives. It also allowed us to support our daughter in her education and needs far better than we could ever have done by having her brother stay at home. I would add this does not take away the underlying guilt or feeling that our son should be at home with us and may be we have failed him, or sacrificed him for the greater good; you must make your own minds up on that one. (NB The full background is in a book I am partway through.)
One of the benefits I perceive from this series of events was that our daughter has gone on to achieve full distinction star marks at college and could not have achieved higher scores. This weekend we took her to her University. Last night was the first night here at home with none of our children in "permanent" residence.
It perhaps was not helped by the normally busy road at the front of our house being affected by roadworks, removing 80% of the traffic, or more. As I tried sleeping it appeared the whole house had changed it's character; it seemed somehow tangibly more sombre, less spontaneous and oh so deadly quiet. None of this of course has nay basis in fact or logic, a house is an inanimate object; what had changed was the way I was seeing it. I was perceiving a brooding silence that seemed to absorb any sound, in much the same way a black hole does matter, because my mind wanted to see it that way. My sub conscious was working on the "loss" the negative of the situation.
I tried to rationalise, but my head would have none of it. Even now typing this I see the students coming from the station after college and I look for our daughter and wait for the house to erupt in the usual caophany of sound, colour, spontaneity and humour that accompanied her return. Choosing to cut out the black moods and challenges that could also come through the door in equal measure.
That said I have made some progress, after all she will be coming back home, this is just like an extended vacation. It is part of the process of the fledging leaving the nest, not the end. All creatures at some point leave their young our vice versa. Humans are just blessed with a stronger emotional attachment.
This is the natural way of things, they must grow and to do so, the parents must of course let go. It is not easy; it defies logical reasoning and is in some ways a grieving process. Logic, when applied, tells us it's no where near as bad as facing the challenge of the death of a child or a loved one, or their permanently leaving home to live with someone new. Logic may be correct, but logic does not not have the strength, or power, to overcome our emotions unless we work with it.
All we parents in this position perhaps now should find new purpose and focus. We need to recall the time invested in our off spring and learn to monitor from afar; being available when we are wanted, rather than needed, making sure we have the time when wanted as well.
So now find a new passion or cause, may be a former hobby and of course our relationships and direct pour emotional energy at these, then we will, much sooner, reach the point where we can stop wanting to shout out; in my case I MISS HER SO MUCH!
So my logic responds to my emotions with; she has to grow and to grow she has to go; to fulfil her potential she must go a different place; I have to allow her to apply actions to her passions by being there when wanted not constantly; there are others with a far better reasons to be sad, or to throw a pity party.
Thank you for reading a slightly more self indulgent post than normal, if your children are too young to move on I urge you to put passion and action into enjoying every second you can with them, regardless of the way they act or behave; you will not regret making the effort in the long run.