Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Dear Daughter...

A letter to a daughter at university. 
Year one, term one:

Dear Daughter,

Hi honey, I'm glad you're enjoying your first few weeks at university and I hope you've managed to unpack the 736 assorted boxes and bags you took with you. You're probably right, you never know when a shower caddy is going to come in handy. Or fairylights. Or a special holder for your collection of mascara.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Mother ...

The TeenTwins have been at university for a month and apart from embarrassing tears (mine) when we deposited them in their newly separate parts of the big wide world, they've taken to student life with commendable ease and enthusiasm.

There's been a few ups and downs, of course, and again, they've mostly been mine.

The first week they were gone I stood in their ransacked bedroom, with half the posters missing from the walls and three weeks of dirty mugs, plates and bowls stacked, neatly, on the dressing table like leaving gifts, and had a little weep. And not only because of the mounting bacteria levels.

When TeenTwin1 succumbed to "Freshers flu" in her first couple of weeks and ended up with a chest infection, something she's been prone to since a baby, she rang sounding sad and wan triggering an instinctive maternal hug reaction. It was just unfortunate I was in the supermarket when she rung, I'm still apologising to the trolley boy.

Then TeenTwin2 banged her head, quite badly, and texted a cry for help that her head hurt and her hands were numb. Though her hands weren't so numb that she couldn't manage to text, update her Facebook status and send a Snapchat of the resulting bump on her head, but still, it was worrying. She spent several hours in A&E flirting with a neurosurgeon and being diagnosed with concussion. I, on the other hand, spent those hours frantically panicking and chewing my nails too many miles away to be any use.

Slowly I'm coming to terms with shopping and cooking for four instead of the usual six. There were a puzzling couple of weeks when I marvelled daily why the fridge was never empty, the bread never gone and the biscuit tin still full when the pair of them claimed to never eat anything at all.

I'm even beginning to appreciate a new found domestic freedom. No longer do I have to scale a small hillock of smalls to reach the washing basket, or do three washes a day every day which is as puzzling as the never empty fridge; the TeenTwins were practically welded into their onesies and if they got dressed at all, wore what looked like very little indeed.

They've both kept in, frankly surprising, regular touch thankfully via the marvels of the internet and video chat as well as with a stream of phone calls and texts, making it highly probable and probably ironic that we've had more one to one conversations in recent weeks than we had all summer.

But I am adjusting and, in time, I might even stop checking their room on the way to bed each night because, empty, it's still a little wrench in the heart everyday.

And obviously they miss me too. Obviously.

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