There’s a hole in my life. It’s about 5 foot and six stone. It grunts a lot instead of speaking in a case of early onset teenage strop-dom. Except when it talks non-stop about complete rubbish – hurricanes, electricity and the like – or sings very badly in the shower. It forgets to brush its teeth and leaves clothes all over the floor.

Put like that, I’m not sure why it is such a hole in my life, but it is. I never thought I could miss dropped clothes and time wasted on yelling to go back to bed, but I do. Because all of that, irritating as it, is part of my son and my son is part of my life. My firstborn. Out in the big, wide world all on his own (well, with 50 other kids and six assorted teachers and TAs).

I felt it before he’d even gone. When I’d packed up his suitcase – all those pants and socks and Tshirts, the slippers I’d had to buy especially, his toothbrush, toothpaste and shampoo. When he went to bed the night before he went I felt sick. I felt like he was already away. Something was missing.

So we looked up that Welsh hostel on Google Earth. We could see the vast expanse of beach on the doorstep. I felt happy for him that he had all this freedom and adventure to come, but a little envious that he was doing it without the rest of us and sad that he was old enough and independent enough to leave us behind.

Still on Google Earth and still in Wales, we looked at Anglesey – at the little town where my friend got married nearly 10 years ago when my boy was a big-eyed baby of 13 months. Beautiful, smiling and happy, still unable to walk. He cruised along the low walls by the beach and everyone looked at him because he was such a gorgeous little thing.

And he’s still beautiful now, but where did that time go? How did he get to go away without us in such a short space of time? Why isn’t he as smiling and happy any more? At times, I’ll be honest, I wish he wasn’t here. Any mother who doesn’t think that about her own children is either a liar or a saint.

But I still love him as much as that big-eyed baby and he’s still left a gaping hole. The house is too quiet, too tidy, just too EASY. And I never thought I’d say that. Who would wish for a harder life?

Strangely, I felt fine on the morning he left and happily waved him off on the bus. Yet a text later in the day from the school simply saying they’d been to a museum, had a great time and the sun was shining brought tears to my eyes.

The first night he was gone, my daughter shouted me because she needed the toilet. She did what she needed to do in silence, then as she was heading back to bed she said: ‘B1 will be in his room now.’ So even the little girl who claims to ‘hate’ him is thinking about him. He’s the only thing that comes into her head when she’s half asleep.

The second night, my younger son couldn’t get to sleep and cried for his brother. He probably misses him more than I do. They are a pair, insperable, partners in crime. They do everything together. And they’ve shared a room for the last seven years.

I’m OK most of the time, then at quiet times it will hit me. A dull ache, an emptiness inside. A feeling that something isn’t quite right. The invisible umbilical cord that has held us together for nearly 11 years is stretched almost to breaking point.

The ‘not knowing’ is the hardest part. I have the agenda, I know what he’s doing every day. But I don’t know if he’s happy, if he’s eating, if he’s having fun or if he’s feeling down. As his mummy, it’s my job to do these things and leaving it to someone else for a few days isn’t easy.

In these days of constant communication, when complete strangers know my every move on Twitter and through my blog, it’s weird that I don’t know what my own son is doing and how he’s feeling. But mobile phones and any phone calls are, understandably, banned. They make children upset. So I have to assume that no news is good news and put my trust in those teachers and TAs.

He’ll be home very soon and the hole in my life will be gone, filled once more by a 5 foot sulky tween.

Son, Baby
Son, Baby

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Aw that is so lovely! My eldest is 16 and doesn’t live with us all the time, in fact he stays at his dads more at the moment for peace and quiet but I do miss him even though he drives me crazy at times! I am now starting to think about him going to university and it scares me half to death as to how I will cope waving him off in two years. It does make you wonder where the time goes though!

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  2. It flies by doesn’t it! My eldest left school this week and like Nicola above I can see university on the horizon. Welled up last week cos her national insurance number arrived! Lol x

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  3. Thanks very much, ladies. I really appreciate your comments! I don’t envy you having university on the horizon, but I suppose we have to build ourselves up gradually to letting go 🙁 This isn’t my first test as he’s been on Cub camp before, but it’s a bit longer. There will be Scout camps in the future and I will just have to get used to it. Then the others will start going away too 🙁 Sniff!

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  4. When my eldest went to Yr6 camp we had his medical condition to worry about as well and how the teachers would handle it etc etc. We sneaked a mobile in his case so he could text every night to say things were ok. The little sh*t hd such a good time he forgot about all of the issues, and the phone, and we didn’t hear from him all week!!! We were worried sick and he was having the life of riley !!!!

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  5. Oh dear 🙁 I think that proves the teachers’ point that mobile phones are always a bad idea! It’s good to know he had a great time. Only an hour or two (and counting!) unti I find out if my boy had a great time too!

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  6. My eldest is volunteering in Africa at the moment and the house is way too tidy and quiet without her, so I know what you mean!

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  7. Oh my goodness, just reading that sentence makes me feel sick! What a brilliant thing for your daughter to do, but I can’t imagine my kids being that far away! Thanks for commenting 🙂

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  8. My middle stinky (stepson) went on his first residential school trip last week. I was clapping and skipping as I waved him off on the Monday morning; and whilst I wasn’t longing for his return it was noticeable that his absence was having an effect on his brothers (the oldest and youngest stinky). Lack of Stinkies I can deal with but the thought of my baby daughter, Boo, every being away from me is a thought I’d like to avoid for the next 20 years!

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  9. Your stepson must have been away at the exact same time as my boy! I totally sympathise with how you feel about Boo. Thanks very much for taking the time to comment 🙂

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