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Jan 21 2011

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(Almost) empty nest

I’m not feeling very ‘hammocky’ today.

My baby left for an extended holiday in England and Europe yesterday. Now, when I say “baby”, I don’t mean it literally, she’s 22 and it’s not the first time she’s flown the coup. But it is the first time she’s gone so far, for so long.

Being the first child she has been, now how do I say this nicely, a bit of a bitch at times.

When she was born my mother walked into my hospital room, looked at her first granddaughter for the first time, and said “Aah, there is a god. Revenge!” I think she meant that I wasn’t always an ideal child – or not an ideal teenager at least.

My mother got her revenge, in spades. My oldest was not the ideal teenager either. She was me all over again.

And she became very, very adept at playing her father off against me. And us being divorced he played right along.Every time I tried to tell her anything or stop her doing what she wanted, she would threaten to go and live with her father.

So I called her (well called them both really because her father kept encouraging her) on it. And I set them a minimum time of 6 months before she could come back. She came back – almost to the day when her six months were up. It improved our relationship no end.

She still wasn’t always easy. Let’s face it, what 16 year old girl is? But we were much better together.

But back to her trip.  She’s meeting her boyfriend in London and then going for a couple of weeks to Egypt and Italy. Then she plans to settle down for an 11 month stay (she has to be home before christmas). She has family in England, so already has a job lined up and a place to stay.

Mind you, her 20 year old sister did the same thing last year and was back within 7 weeks, so now we’re all placing bets on how long this one will last. Current favourite bet is 8 weeks – she’ll have to outlast her sister.

Permanent link to this article: http://kathswinbourne.com.au/almost-empty-nest/