I must confess to suffering quite considerably from Empty Nest Syndrome recently. You’d think I’d have gotten over it, what with this being his second year in college but I haven’t. At least last year he came home every weekend. This year, having acquired a part-time job, his weekends are normally spent in the Rebel County, pulling pints and cleaning up puke.
The day I drove him back to college, with all his worldly possessions piled high in the back of my tiny car, I cried the whole way home. He couldn’t wait to see the back of me and go drinking with his buddies. I put on a brave face, slipped him a few quid and once I drove off, bawled for Ireland.
Nobody tells you when you have kids that you don’t get to keep them forever. They eventually find their own path and head off, eager to explore the world. And that’s the way it should be but God is it gut-wrenching.
Thankfully we still have one at home who will watch telly with us occasionally and have the chats. But the house is so much quieter, so much cleaner, so much emptier without their constant bickering and banter.
The Prodigal Son returned home on Sunday. He told us he was coming home to see us but really it was because he wanted his washing done and a decent meal. I’m not stupid. Nor did I care. I just wanted to see him, fuss over him and be a mammy. Funny that, because when he lived here I wanted to kill him half the time!
He said he’d love a roast dinner. Himself went all out and bought roast beef with all the trimmings. An apple crumble was purchased (No I didn’t make it myself – I don’t love him that much) and I stocked the fridge with all his favourite food.
The bag of dirty washing was ceremoniously handed to me on me opening the door. He then proceeded to say he was starving as he hadn’t eaten since the day before. Himself had the frying pan out before you could say ‘sausages’ and the eldest lay down on the couch as we waited on him hand and foot.
He wasn’t in the door a half an hour before the arguing started. The boys wanted to watch football, us women wanted to watch Saturday night’s Strictly. The women won obviously and we all squashed in together on the couch.
“Ow his foot is in my face,” said The Youngest who had been texting him regularly to tell him how much she missed him.
“She is such a moan,” he replied, elbowing her.
“Shut up the lot of you! I can’t hear the scores!” shouted Himself.
“Who farted?” I enquired.
“Not me!” came the chorus of three who all start pointing at the dog, who I’m sure is innocent.
Oh how I’ve missed this!