Delayed Empty Nest Syndrome

DS#1's first Christmas
I'm smiling and nodding like a madwoman. I'm using my best "enthusiastic" voice to make supportive happy comments. Inside my heart is breaking as it sinks in that yes, my baby, my firstborn, my eldest son is flying the nest.

He actually moved out more than year ago but just a hop down the road, not quite a stone's throw but not far off it.

 I'd drive past his flat at night on the way to or from friends, or doing the whole "mum's taxi" thing and see his bedroom light glowing. My mummy heart would soften knowing my child was inside, warm, safe. The drive-by equivalent of tucking him in I suppose.

Then a few months ago he moved a short way further - literally streets away from his first flat but a few hundred miles away emotionally. He's hardly ever there you see, and his room is at the back so I can't tell whether he's in or out. He keeps in touch - thank goodness for mobile phones - and visits sometimes, but I share his heart with another woman now so his time is divided.

Age 17 with me.
Quite rightly he wants to be with his girlfriend whenever he can. She's known on my blog as FDIL-future daughter in law. They are not actually even engaged but very happy together with lots of long term plans for their shared future. Luckily we get on incredibly well and she accepts the cheeky title with grace and laughter.

But this relationship inevitably has led to this moment. She lives hundreds of miles away. They spend hours each week on trains and motorways to grab precious time together. They have tried long distance love and although it is working they really want more.

Happy with the very lovely FDIL
So plans are afoot. There is talk of transfers and landlords and stuff. Sooner rather than later. This year for sure if all goes to plan.

I'm really happy for them, delighted even. It's all you want isn't it for your children to be happy? But I'm sad too there will be no more spur of the moment visits, no popping in to see him for a quick chat at work, no more reports from friends - "I saw your son today, he seemed happy/stressed/tired."

It's not helped that DS#2 is planning his new life at uni which (exam results willing) starts this year. I understand it's time for them to go  and believe me it's actually nice to have older children. No more 2am feeds, nappies, weaning, potty training....

 I know there will still be five children here even when the older two have left. I'll still have more children than most in fact but the hard fact of two of my children leaving gives me a glimpse of life in the not too distant future when our home is, well, an empty nest.