First day at school. He cried and wouldn’t let go of my hand. I smiled reassuringly, telling him it would be all right. Hadn’t we been talking about how much fun school is? Anyhow, I would be back before he knew it. I was strong and waited until he was out of sight before I cried. The next day he pulled away from me and ran off to greet his new friend.

School Camp: For the first five minutes the quiet was fantastic. If I tidied up their rooms, they stayed tidied. Ten whole days. I could cook whatever I wanted, watch whatever I wanted, put my feet up and read without interruption. Then I got a bit restless. I wanted the noise and the chaos. It’s what I lived for. I missed them, even the one who had those magazines under the bed. Getting off the school bus; I almost didn’t recognise them. A rucksack full of dirty clothes mingled in with the clean ones. Matted hair, scabby knees and voices hoarse from all night talk-fests.
‘How was it?’
‘Good’. (I asked each one separately and together, they both responded the same way.)
‘What did you do?’
A shrug of the shoulders. ‘You know.’
No, I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking. ‘Happy to be back?’
‘Yeah.’ I’ll have to talk to the teacher.

The first job: You hope that all the values and work the ethic that you instilled have taken. You watch anxiously as they find their niche and learn to stand on their own two feet. Lovely.

The first girlfriends: To save certain parties from embarrassment, we will skim over that one, except to say that there were lots of insecurities to be overcome. Boys experience it too.

I was there for the first everything and if I ever thought about it (I rarely did), I believed this state of affairs would go on forever.


Empty Nest: All I wanted was ‘a room somewhere, far away from the cold night air’ and to be as far away from the constant piping of little voices as I could be. Then, just as my children were old enough to be interesting human beings with a sense of humour and capable of decent dialogue and civilised to boot, they left home. They left me all alone in my empty nest. It was a liberating feeling until I realised that I while had my wish, I hadn’t prepared for the aftermath. You can only spend so much time a week having coffee with friends. I was a professional mother. It’s a funny job, mothering. Lots of us around but once we’re pensioned off that’s it. Then, of course, once we’re used to our new status and lulled into a sense of security, we are resurrected and called up for granny duties.

18 thoughts on “D is for Degree of Separation

    • I used to think I was a terrific mum, then I watched my children at work with their children and wish I could go back and do some things differently. I’m not too bad at grandma-ing, though. I think.

      • I used to respond to comments pretty much straight away, Jules, but my life isn’t my own these days. I’m also pretty glad that I met you through blogging. That’s the nicest thing about our little community. I’ve watched your confidence grow and blossom. I’ve never made it beyond stick figures myself so I admire talents like yours. Don’t ever drop out.

  1. Hi,

    This is brilliant! I raised my only child alone and when she left for Uni (only last year) I have experienced some of the most difficult times ever … I wrote about it a little bit on my blog! While I have found my feet again, the truth is – I am now waiting to be resurrected for granny duties -:)!

    • Not sure if it is brilliant, but thanks saying so. You’re going to have a fabulous time when you’re resurrected as a grandma. It’s like getting a second chance – only this time you’re awake. 🙂

    • An only child, Daniela. Wow, your grandchildren are going to be spoiled within an inch of their lives (in a good grandmotherly way, of course.)

    • Sorry to be so slow, Bruce, I’m trying to catch up on my correspondence. Can I just say that when the other two kids leave home you might want to write what the empty nest feels like from a man’s perspective. It would be different, but I’m guessing no less interesting.

  2. I like the way you presented the situation. I can see what you’re describing. I can imagine a woman who turns to volunteer work with children after her own children leave home, in order to stay in the profession, till the role of granny takes hold. In a way, I did that by filling up some of my time with teaching when my children left home. But I do think that the best way to do it, is to have side interests all the way through life; hobbies for instance. That can make life a lot more interesting and more fun too.

    • Side interests are a great idea, but some people, I won’t name names, Shimon, had no hobbies and did not see the need for them. They dedicated their lives to their children. They thought it would go on forever, even as they were encouraging their children to have lives of their own.
      Lovely of you to visit.

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