Meg should be setting down in Berlin any minute now. Easyjet from Glasgow to Schonefeld.
|Berlin Schonefeld Airport|
|Glasgow International Airport|
The weekend has been a big party of bon voyage drinks and friends and food.
We spent Friday night in Maisie’s Pub. Shovelling coal onto the fire and getting unco fu’. So fu’ in fact that last orders triggered a ‘party at my house’ shout and the die-hards made their way to New Lanark for the champagne and whisky and Glayva – and a few bites of pakora.
R and Ana and I drove her into the airport at 9am this morning Meg had fretted non-stop over baggage restrictions and hand luggage. She had worried over what to wear and had a last minute change of mind over clothes. She had reassured me that the mobile phone bill won’t really be that expensive. And decided that she wouldn’t wear anything more than mascara on her eyes – because I’m going to cry when I say cheerio Mum.
In the end she and I did cry a bit.
My eyes filled when she walked away from us – up the one-way to Security tunnel. The sight of her setting off on her own. Fur hatted and slender in leather. Gorgeous but vulnerable but determined. Having a last minute panic but settling her own nerves and not looking back.
We say goodbye to them so often now. It seems I’ve entered that stage where my life as a parent is a long round of preparation for departure and then of farewells. This is good and as it ought to be. I just need to toughen up – have my heart go where my mind already is: that separation and independance is the endgame of parenting.
I also need to apologise to all those middle-aged and greeting parents whom I scoffed at as they waved goodbye or spoke of their ’empty nests’.There is pain in this thing that we are fortunate enough to go through.
Of course my ‘nest’ is far from empty. So I am aware that I’m being a bit of a drama queen. But still. With Meg now away and with Lou buying his own car and driving himself through to his new promotion (2nd in charge at a large store in Kilmarnock) I’m aware of how quickly it all passes. That one minute you are changing nappies and dropping from lack of sleep and the next waving goodbye to an adult.
R reminds me of the consolations. A New Year trip to Berlin to see Meg and a staff discount on the planned bathroom from Lou’s store. And I smile.
Truthfully, I cannot understand why I am feeling this way. I was always focused on the objective of the job – to get them safely through to departure. I was always a ‘selfish’ parent who built a large life outside of home. Who did not teach her children that they were the centre of the universe (or the centre of her universe).
But maybe – all along – with my parenting emphasis on independance, I was really doing it for my own benefit. Knowing that one day they would not ‘need’ me, I was preparing myself for the final umbilical cut. The time when my own axis, my centre of gravity, would need to shift.
All the time I was telling myself and others that ‘I had a life. My life was not all about the kids and being a Mother’ I find that actually, my role as Mother is central to my sense of Self.
I also find that whilst you worry when they are little – you ‘worry’ even more when they are grown…
How inadequately I prepared for ‘letting go’. How inadequately I really knew myself.
Anyway… ‘Onwards and upwards’ as my Mum says.
I trust them to look after themselves. To love and be loved. To contribute and be of use. To take pleasure from life and to hurt no person. All will be well.
And as R reminds me, I’ll get my trip to Berlin and a new, reduced price bathroom.