It seems like only yesterday that I led my 3 year old daughter by the hand and into a room full of screaming rugrats and hyperventilating nursery assistants. The whole morning as I remember was upsetting and traumatic, not for my daughter... for me! She just let go of my grip and headed for the doll house in the corner with not so much as a sniffle. Me on the other hand, walked home with a lump stuck in my throat ready to burst at any moment and as soon as I got through my front door, I let go. My baby was at school and my house was empty for the first time in 3 years. Gone were the little giggles and constant need for attention -- gone too the mess all over the floor but most of all the empty feeling I felt as I wandered from room to room without my little shadow.
That was 13 years ago and what I have now is a complete reversal. My daughter led me by the hand into her chosen college and introduced me to the tutors. I suddenly felt like the child and that same lump returned to my throat -- my little girl is at college!
Time flies, it certainly does. When I think back it doesn't seem like 13 years have passed and it certainly doesn't feel like 16 years ago she was born. Yet when I look in the mirror and then at the photograph of us as a family in 1993, I shudder. Was that really me? My hubby had hair. I had natural colour and there in the middle was our offspring when she did everything we asked. Now she does entirely the opposite but lovely with it.
Walking around that college last night, I realised that it wasn't just me getting older but my daughter growing up into a young independent woman. My hubby ate his way around campus, every time I turned round he had something stuck in his orifice--first a burger, then a hot dog and then a piece of cake. Where was he getting all this stuff from? Then I realised that there was a department for food technology, my hubby took no time in finding that! "Honestly Steve, can you not stop eating for just one hour of the day!" He couldn't reply because his mouth was full of something else. I heard a grunt which was his attempt at an excuse but we walked on leaving him to dispose of a handful of wrappers and waddle on behind.
We made our way home and I shook my head in disgust as he pulled up beside the Pizza takeaway in town and duly went inside for a huge pepperoni. If this was his idea of a night out, what do I have to look forward to in old age? My daughter will have left home before I know it and I'll be stuck with Mr Hungry 24/7.
Ah! The comfort of my own home and the inviting warmth of our log fire awaited. He devoured his pizza and then went to the cupboard for antacids. I never like to say "I told you so", but I took great pleasure in reciting that phrase to him as he sat down rubbing his tum. My daughter was more concerned about the flatulence issue later on -- pizza always makes him play a few tunes and it's not pleasant.
"At least I don't have to sleep with him" she said looking directly at me.
"No, but guess who does?" I snapped and his face twisted into laughter as though it was quite humorous.
I went to bed early and was deep in slumber when he finally came to bed. If he was windy, I was too well gone to notice and I rose early this morning to the sound of manic honking geese.
My daughter's off to school this morning -- he's off to work and me ..... I'm sitting here typing this with one frozen finger. Back to reality..