Monthly Musing – May 2022 – Moving on

My Dad always used to joke that I had never really left home because I had left things in the garage that I never quite got around to picking up.

There was certainly truth in that (although I don’t think that he really minded his garage being a free storage facility) – partly because I had nowhere to put them in my own house, or no particular use for them at the time (but that didn’t mean I wanted to throw them away), or maybe it was because deep down, I still wanted to keep a part of me connected to the house I grew up in.

This week, I’ve been having similar conversations with my girls.  Big daughter is getting ready to move out, to find her own place and continue to build her own life as an adult.  We’ve known this has been coming for several years and there’s been the month in Peru with World Challenge and living away from home at university to get us ready for this day, but it stills feels like a huge moment and big daughter is torn between wanting to go and wanting to stay.

“We’re not going anywhere,” I told her.  “If you need to, you can always come home.”  It’s what my parents said to me, and just knowing that made it easier for me to leave when the time came.

I suspect with big daughter there’s going to be a bit more left here than a few things in the garage, but perhaps we both need that for now.  Not so small daughter will miss her very much, but we’ve spent a few hours this week filling out forms for international Guide camp applications so she is already starting to stretch her wings, ready to fly.

Japan, Madagascar, Canada … the choices are amazing and we know that she will have an incredible time if she gets through the selection process, and of course, being not so small daughter, she has chosen to apply for all of them.  The world is a big place and she has big plans.  Mid-GCSEs, she’s already looking at universities and still has her sights set on a life in Japan.

This is when we know we’ve done something right, isn’t it?  When our girls are growing up into the strong, confident, independent young women that we always hoped they would be, eager to go out into the world and make their mark.  As parents, we all hope that our children will grow up to fulfil whatever ambitions they have, whether travelling the world or staying closer to home, and as the exam days tick on, we are all one step closer to helping them prepare for whatever comes next.  It’s not easy, though.  Like big daughter, I am torn between wanting her to go and wanting her to stay, even whilst knowing that staying is not the best option for her.

Maybe the answer really is providing a free storage facility that we can grumble about but never insist on emptying.  I’d better get on with clearing a space in the garage for her box of things.

 

 

 

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14 Responses

  1. Pam says:

    My daughters are the same. The eldest moved to the Isle of Man for work and has now bought a house there, so it’s a permanent move, but still leaves a small case of things here for when she comes back. Youngest daughter moved out 3 years ago to her own home but we still have some of her things in the loft as she doesn’t have room for them. They still come to us for Christmas etc so I guess it’s still ‘home’ to them at some level.

  2. Ann says:

    This was the hardest thing for me to accept when the time came. It to0k me years. Having an only child made it even more difficult. Once she went away to college she never really came home for more than three weeks as there was always something going on during the summers once school was out. That took me by surprise and I just wasn’t prepared for it. I was supportive of her but inside my heart was breaking. Life has moved on now she’s been married for 24 years so I did get over it!

    • Denise says:

      Mother of an only child (daughter) here, Ann.
      We lived in a country town and university was always in the plan, so I knew she would leave one day. As it turned out, she had a gap year where she travelled a bit, worked away a bit, and was at home for a bit, then went to uni more than 200 km away. She hasn’t lived at home full time since she was 18 and is coming up to 33 in August.
      As you say, you bring them up to be independent and to “fly” but it is so hard when they do. I still miss her and love it when she either visits or I visit her!
      I should add that she has a mental illness and we were not sure, growing up, that she would be able to live independently. Another thing to throw in the mix!

  3. Hilary says:

    This is so heart warming and so good to hear about. Strong young women going out in to the world with all the opportunities just waiting for them yet knowing they have a safe space to return to if they ever need it. So different from my own flight from an abusive home at eighteen, to a university I never wanted to return from into a marriage doomed from the off. You did good, you did so so good.

  4. CJ says:

    I am facing saying goodbye to my eldest later this year as he (hopefully) heads off to university. It’s definitely bittersweet. I don’t think I am ever quite ready for them to take their next step. CJ xx

  5. Laura Miller says:

    This poem sprang to mind when I read your post …. “As the butterfly must spread its wings and to some far off place must fly, the little bird must leave the nest, and so this day must I. My journey will be long, but I will travel light. I’ll travel from the morning, through the day, until the night. And when the day is over and to my nest I yearn, the memory of your waiting will hasten my return.” xxxxx

  6. Susan Rayner says:

    A very dear friend has five children – and twelve grandchildren now as they have all moved out and married many years ago! The children all have their own homes and yet my friend’s garage and attic are still full of stuff they have left behind! They do all come back a lot – but have mostly settled where they studied as that is where they met their husbands and wife! They are one of the nicest families – and yes they have been allowed to spread their wings and fly on their own – a huge success story! I am sure both your daughters will be the same! They have such lovely parents and a lovely home to fly from and come back to!

  7. Lindsay says:

    This really resonates Christine as my Eldest prepares for Uni this year. I’m dreading it but proud in equal measure. I can’t bear the thought of him not being here full time year can’t wait to see what he achieves and goes on to become! X

  8. Kath says:

    I remember reading years ago, when my little people really were little, you should give your children roots and wings. Sounds like you’ve done that with your girls. xx

  9. Heidi says:

    Someone asked me which age I enjoyed most, I loved it all but I have to say spending time with my adult children is amazing, which is really important as they are adults much longer than they are children. And yes we have an attic and two bedrooms still very much theirs.

    • Kate McCurrach says:

      That’s such a good way to think of it. I will always think that from now on and it will help me when my two ho off to uni and begin their adult lives. X

  10. Lynne says:

    As the very much youngest of three, and the only child to live in the final family home (although the house itself had never been out of the family) I always maintained my attic bedroom at home until it was finally sold following the death of my father even though I hadn’t actually lived there for over 25 years and owned my own house. My parents always regarded it as ‘my bedroom’ and no one was allowed to stay in it! They and I, were lucky to have the space to do this but in all honesty it was probably a case of never fully letting go as I was the only sibling who remained in close proximity. I did love that room with its sloping walls and personal staircase (very handy for a teenager) but sometimes we do have to let go in the end and I’m sure someone else is very happy there now.

  11. Lenore says:

    I found it really hard when my eldest son left home until I realised they are like rubber bands, they always bounce back. The three of them have all returned home (even the two married kids with their children) to live at different times for various reasons. They still use the bedrooms they used as kids and I still have a swag of their things. I would’t have it any other way. Xx❤️🌺

  12. Polly says:

    You are so right! That feeling of such enormous pride and excitement for them coupled with the worry and not knowing what to do with all the mumming you have always done.
    Your daughters sound both sound like absolutely amazing young women and a credit to the love and life you have given to them.
    I sometimes still miss mine at home (fleetingly and not often) but we’ve got a different and lovely relationship now and it’s such a HUGE compliment when your grown up children ask to spend time with you and behave like friends xx

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