Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Silver Lining



This time next week, I’ll be in my car, on my way to England, taking my daughter to university. Goodness knows where we’ll be at precisely this moment (it’s 4.30 pm here in Geneva, Switzerland) but I’m guessing we’ll be somewhere close to Paris, heading towards the port of Calais where we’ll spend the night before catching the ferry the following morning. And goodness knows what sort of state I’ll be in, although judging from my current condition I doubt I’ll be a great candidate for the Miss Perky award.

I’m sad. I’m tearful. Frankly, I’m a bit of a mess.

My beautiful daughter is leaving home. And although I know we’ll be in touch every day thanks to modern technology, and although I know she’ll be home for Christmas, and although I know I can get on a plane and fly over to see her for a couple of days if I really really want to, I know that life in the Prescott household will never be the same again.

I’m thrilled for her, I really am. I’m proud she did so well in her International Baccalaureate, proud she got into the university of her choice, proud of the beautiful, kind, intelligent, talented, wonderful person she’s become. She dazzles me, she truly does. And it’s not as if my nest will be empty; my equally gorgeous, kind, intelligent, talented, wonderful son still has three years of high school in front of him. Thank goodness!

We're all going to miss her. But her departure is going to hit me particularly hard because she and I have always been especially close. We’re like two peas in a pod: our passion for horses, our interest in fashion, our reserved personalities, our obsession with washing our hair, our inability to put the top back on the toothpaste, our incessant worrying about hurting other people’s feelings, our discomfort in large groups. Etc. Big etc!!!! I’ve been blessed, I really have; over the years I've met so many mothers who have suffered from being shut out by their adolescent daughters, enduring tantrums, hurtful comments, inconsiderate behavior. My daughter never put me through anything like that. She and I always have enjoyed each other’s company, have always been able to talk about anything. We've always had fun together. As my mother says, she’s never been a minute’s trouble.

And now she’s going away, and it’s going to be SO strange. Until now, I’d never understood how my mother felt when I boarded a plane and flew off to seek my fortune in America with my boyfriend back in the early Eighties (err, I didn’t find it!). Back then there were no mobile phones, no emails, no way of remaining in contact twenty-four seven. Back then, my parents could only kiss me goodbye, walk away and hope for the best. Communication was limited to letters and the occasional long-distance, madly expensive phone call and, retrospectively, I could have been a little more considerate. Not that they ever complained, bless them. The fact that kids leave home is simply in the grand order of things, but – oh dear - it definitely feels like a significant chink in the circle of life. That cliché about children growing up too fast? Pff!

Oh, I’ll be fine. Of course I will. In fact, I’ve even found a positive point about her moving overseas: I’ll have Kwintus all to myself!

Can you tell I’m clinging to that silver lining?

11 comments:

Kate said...

I know how you feel - I have one who is 21 and one who is 19, and both live away from home now - one close by and the other far away, and they're both horse people. Take comfort in having launched a wonderful person into the world!

lastnerve said...

Wow Francesca, you said everything I wanted to say! My daughter leaves for college on Sept. 1. She's my firstborn, my baby and she's leaving. :( I'll drive up with her to college, help her unpack but I know the minute I get back in that car, I'm going to be a mess. I have one with two years of high school and one with 4 years of high school. It breaks my heart that they will leave. Here is a big hug and if you get lonely or just want to cry on a shoulder, I'm here girl. I'll cry right back on yours! Love ya!
Val

Linda Benson said...

Francesca, when my daughter (whom I'm very close to) went to college, I got her all settled in her room with a straight face and wished her well. Then went home and cried for days. It is really hard to let go, especially when the bond has been that close. Take comfort in the fact that you'll soon be getting phone calls (Mom? Mom?) asking for advice and support, and those will last forever.

Ziggy Nixon said...

I can't say I know how you feel because that day is still at least 8 years away for my oldest. But I do know that thanks to all of your love, your guidance, your friendship and the not-so-simple act of being a good, nay, great mother, that you have produced a kind, lovely and intelligent young lady, who will only go on to shine more and more in the coming years. In short: well done!!

Jami Davenport said...

Francesca,

My heart aches for you. I know how close the two of you have been over the years. You're just going to have to spend more time writing to take your mind off of it (hint).

Take care and come visit sometime.

Jami Davenport said...

PS: Hey, Val, how are you? Nice to see you here.

Laura Crum said...

Francesca--My little boy (my only child) is turning ten in a few days and already it seems like childhood is moving by too quickly. I have no idea how I'll deal with his leaving home. Since I'm an older mom, most of my girlfriends have been through this. For my best friend, Sue, the first months were hard, but she did find that new things opened up for her as time went on.

You and your daughter look lovely together in the photo!

Francesca Prescott said...

Thank you, everyone for your kind comments, comforting words and cyber hugs. An friend of mine sent me another article she found in a newspaper about a father agonizing about his little girl going off to University; I guess parents all over the world are going through the same emotions as me right now.

I can't help smiling at a memory of my daughter as a very small girl. She'd often wake up in the middle of the night crying. Bleary-eyed, we'd sit up in bed, give her a cuddle and ask her what was wrong, and she'd reply "I'm crying because I don't want to grow up because I never want to leave home"!!! We used to chuckle about it (not to mention get a little annoyed at having been woken up in the middle of the night!). What strikes me now is that, back then, it never occured to me that one day I'd be the one crying because she'd be grown up and leaving home....

Again, major thanks to everyone for your lovely comments. It means so much :)

kippen64 said...

Congratulations on your daughter's achievement. That won't stop you from missing her though. It won't just be that your daughter is leaving, it is that part of your life is over. My daughter is eighteen and making noises about leaving home and I feel devastated. Such a large part of my life has been dedicated to actively being a mum. When she does leave, I'll still be a mum, but it won't be the same.

Alison said...

I'm glad you posted this Francesca! When my first went off I prepared myself months in advance (I know--overkill) and still cried for days. And certainly not because I didn't have a great life (work, writing, etc.) but because I knew it would never be the same. However, both have now gone off to college many times, I still mourn each time they leave, but I do know that I survived AND mostly importantly, that the bond between us is still there! So take heart that your relationship will change but in many ways it will be just as strong.

Shanster said...

Take care of yourself! Glad Kwintus can step in and help comfort you. I'll be thinking of you! Hang in there... much love to you and yours -