So far, the blog posts have been written by me – Mum to two children aged 21 and 17. Tomorrow, as we all know, is Father’s Day. I have never understood why Father’s Day is international and Mother’s Day is one date in the UK and another for the rest of the world. That will have to be held for another blog for another day…
Anyway, in honour of Father’s Day, it seemed only right to give the Dad’s view point of when their child prepares for university and then leaves home. I thought I would ask my husband for his thoughts and memories and hopes for the future.
‘My first thoughts when our son started out in university, in 2015, was how on earth has this happened! My boy may be 18 and taller than me. But I haven’t aged since the day he was born. Time hadn’t actually stood still; but suddenly with a son contemplating leaving home for university hadn’t been part of the equation. I would like to think we have a good father/son relationship. We support the same football team (not allowed to say in this post, unfortunately) and can talk about pretty much anything. Now we were preparing to let him go.
I have to admit I took pretty much a back seat when it came to preparations. Personal statement? Not really. Choice of subject. Up to him. Choice of university. Same. I visited a couple of universities with him but it all felt unreal.
Then he switched on his laptop and found out he had been acccepted to Chester University in August 2015. Suddenly, we were in a flurry of buying saucepans, duvets and cookery books. The practicalities became all important and the actual thought of my lad leaving home for university still didn’t seem a reality.
September arrived and the time had come. The packing was OK. The filling up the car absolutely fine. The long drive up North wasn’t bad either. We stayed in a bed & breakfast for a couple of days, so it felt something of a holiday. Then Sunday arrived and the short drive to the campus happened. We collected the key to his flat in the halls of residence. Took him shopping buying vast quantities of pasta and tinned tomatoes.
We then drove to the halls of residence and helped him unpack. One great memory was talking to a lad, who had also just arrived, outside the halls. He seemed really friendly and I relaxed knowing that there was at least one nice person in his block of flats. As it happens, they became best friends and I always smile when I think I met him first!
Suddenly, it was time to say goodbye and see you at Christmas. I don’t mind admitting I just broke down. My son couldn’t wait to go to the Fresher’s party. I couldn’t wait until Christmas.
The worst bit, for me, was arriving home. There was a weird quiet around the house. Food stayed in the ‘fridge longer then before. An empty bedroom. It took me a long time to get used to the new. I found myself quietly checking him out on Facebook. How soon should I contact him? How often should I contact him?
In time, it got easier and when he came home, we got used to the chaos and the noise again. Then it was quiet again for a few months until the next holiday.
And now, ironically, on Father’s Day 2018 we will be driving up north – one last time – and collecting our son and bringing him home for his next adventure
Now I am slowly getting our head around the fact that our daughter is preparing for university after A levels next year. And I will have to go through all those emotions again… ‘