Joe went off to live with his much adored girlfriend Jade in her hometown some one hundred miles away from me. He found himself a job there before he left (my one stipulation to his going) and I watched him drive away in his own car to start a new life independently. (We actually followed him in our car because we had half his stuff in our boot and he needed our help to move into their new flat...but the imagery of waving him off would have been lost!!) My son was a man...albeit a man who still thinks it is funny to stick pegs on my feet, make prank phone calls and who eats a whole box of Cadbury's Mini Rolls in one go! But that is what makes him Joe...my little baby boy who is now all grown up!!! I've not lost him at all...we are redifining our mother/son relationship and I am excited by all future twists and turns that promises to deliver.
Megan is three years younger than Joe and she left to go to the University of Manchester. She was just 17 as she took her A'Levels a year earlier than her peers. Her journey was slightly more fraught as, because of her age, she was allocated accommodation in an all-girls fully catered hall of residence. A devastating prospect to my fun loving party girl! We had tears...lots of tears! I left her in the "prison cell" of her room. I felt so helpless as I was unable to ease her sadness and disappointment. There was no exceptions for underage girls being in the halls without a warden...this was her lot for her first year of university. It was meant to be the time of her life, but she was destined to live an alcohol-free, boyless, partyless existence....or so we thought! As we drove away I couldn't hold in the sobs. My little girl alone with no likeminded people to call friends. However 15 minutes into my guilt-ridden journey home I got a call on my mobile. A buoyant, bouncy voiced daughter regaled me with tales of the goings on of the first quarter of an hour of life at uni. Turns out there were cool girls in the halls afterall (others too young for a warden-free first year or those who failed to secure their first choices of accommodation) but they'd all been off shopping at the Trafford Centre for the day. They returned the second we had left with pizzas and beers and promises of a night out with the boys from the all-boys hall. Things were going to be OK. In her own irrepressible style Meg snared the barman, a second year student, from their night out...they've been together ever since! I had given her the tools she needed after all...I should've had faith!