My 6’5″ baby boy has gone travelling for an indefinite period of time and whilst I couldn’t be more thrilled for him, it’s yet another period of readjustment in this parenting rollercoaster now that I’ve been left home alone once again and I’m trying to work out how to be. He’s flown to Bali and is then heading onto Australia where he’s just going to “play it by ear.” I finally got him to agree to letting me add him to Find My Friends, “in case you lose your phone, or yourself” and I’m finding it very difficult to stop myself from checking his whereabouts every hour – even though I don’t know Bali at all so if he was somewhere he shouldn’t be, I wouldn’t have a clue.
The cat clearly didn’t want him to leave and you can see from the size of his bag the reason why I haven’t said “my son has gone backpacking”:-
I’m trying to be grown up about this latest empty nest space I’m sitting in. It’s hard to suppress the all consuming primal instinct to want to keep him safe and it’s taking a lot of willpower not to text him every day to check he’s hasn’t drowned, been bitten by a snake or a monkey, got Bali Belly, fallen off a moped, quad bike, balcony or a mountain, dived into a shallow pool or lake…and so on. Of course, I can rationalise that I left home at 17 without a backwards glance and was independent from there on in, with my parents seemingly not giving a shit about whether I was still alive or not but still, it’s pretty different now and I feel quite privileged to be living in London where (OK lets admit, for mainly economic purposes) your kids stay at home for a lot longer than they used to.
This “mother love” is basic and deep within the gut and it never goes away, even if they’re on the other side of the world. He’s heard all the horror stories of diving into shallow pools and paralysing yourself, falling off balconies or cliffs, getting drunk and waking up without your wallet and passport (at best), getting stung by jellyfish, eaten by sharks, drowning in your own vomit – all those things us parents can’t help catastrophizing because we’ve spent YEARS nurturing and bringing up children that we hope are capable of stepping out into the world at large and we would be VERY PISSED OFF IF THEY F**CK IT ALL UP.
When I dropped him off at the airport with his mate, I managed to not give him a final list of things to avoid, I just said “please don’t die” – which sounded a little over dramatic admittedly.
Here they are looking far too casual pre their flight:-
Ten minutes after I’d driven off I got a text from him to say they weren’t allowed to get their tickets until they’d bought an onward flight out of Bali. So that was the first drama.
ANYWAY, so what am I doing apart from trying not to stalking him? I’ve been away for the weekend with my daughter, caught up with my other son for supper and had my brother round for supper. The first night I’m home alone is tonight and guess what? I’m blogging! But I think I’m fine. I keep opening the fridge to find with amazement that there is still food in it. The back door is also locked, the lights are not all on, the iron has not been on all day and there isn’t loads of washing in the basket to do. You also sleep better when there is nothing you can do about keeping them safe and you know they’re not going to stumble into the house pissed at 4am and wake you up.
AND NOW LOOK AT WHAT HE’S JUST SENT OUR FAMILY STREAM!
Rule No.1 – Never give a monkey your phone
Rule No.2 – Never look a monkey in the eye
Rule No.3 – Don’t let it bite you! You haven’t had your rabies jab!!
All I can say right now is thank god for our cat – who’s keeping me company and isn’t carrying any contagious diseases as far as I’m aware:-
Bon Voyage my lovely boy and PLEASE STAY SAFE.