It seems only a few years ago that I was the centre of my children’s life and they were mine, we would spend most every evening and every weekend together. Now the youngest two of my four girls will soon be 16 and it’s a wonderful time for them, a time of infinite possibilities, new experiences, new relationships. For me it’s a bit different, I’ve got to let them go, let them find their own way in life and take their own risks. I’m no longer the centre of their lives, I’m on the periphery, exactly as it should be.
This last few years as Stephie’s been away at University I’ve been gradually practicing the art of letting go, whilst strengthening the elastic ties that bind us. Trying to establish new infrequent rituals of togetherness to replace the daily and weekly habits of the past. Now when she visits home we try and eat out as a family, I try to go out to breakfast with her, go on a special birthday hike, take at least one hiking holiday with just the two of us. She’s hopefully heading for the Netherlands next year so that will be a good excuse to holiday there.
These times together are becoming incredibly precious to me and will likely grow more so. I’ve just started the same approach with Tessa and Anna trying to establish new ways to spend time together, a weekly meal out for just the three of us, trips to the cinema and still at least one weeks family holiday.
Next week Jennie and I are going on holiday for 3 days in the Lakes, our first holiday together for 3 or 4 years, and I took Anna and Thom out for the day today, combining walking, eating and cinema, a very rare treat indeed.
When the kids were little I thought I’d seen the last of separation anxiety as I left them at the school gate, but now many years on it’s strange to be seeing it from a whole new perspective, but kind of exciting too as we all move on in our lives.