Monday, 29 March 2010
Today is both a very sad day and a very happy one. Since becoming a mother I have had several days like this, there was the first day of nursery school when as we walked along he gripped my hand and asked me why he had to go. But when we arrived his face lit up at the sight of other children and all those toys, and he rushed in not looking back. I was so happy that he was happy, but also a little sad that he didn't need me to hang about.
There was the first school trip. And university. Motherhood is to be in a constant state of ambivalence. You work tirelessly to ensure your child will be able to enter the world with confidence, to make yourself redundant, and when that happens you are thrilled as you sit in your empty nest and wonder what to do with yourself.
I've been lucky, Bob came back after university and has been living here with us and working locally. I've had several extra years of baking birthday cakes and chatting with him at the kitchen table over supper. All the while, though, I've been thinking this is no place for the young, there's no space to grow here. But Bob is resourceful. All the while he has been gathering strength, increasing his knowledge, formulating plans.
And now he's off to begin his adventures. On Saturday he got on a bus to London to spend the weekend with his best friends. Today they will take him to the airport so he can get on a plane to Hawaii where he will work on a Noni fruit farm for two months. While he's there he will research where to go next. He wants to see as much of the world as he can. I got an email from him last night that read: 'I am unfathomably excited about tomorrow.' I am too. To think that my child has the confidence to venture so far from home, on his own, into the unknown is amazing and wonderful. I feel like I did a terribly good job. I have every confidence that he is more than capable of looking after himself, and others should the need arise. And I look forward to hearing his tales. But I will miss him every day. I don't suppose he'll be back for some time.
Images from top: Graphics Hunt, Flickr and Wikipedia.