Today my daughter’s “things” were picked up by the removal men and will be trucked up to Auckland some time this week. And so we have another empty room to mark this very significant change in our lives as the last of our kids leaves home. It seems an event worthy of some greater rite of passage than the arrival and departure of a truck. We offered the removal men cans of coke, they chose beer, but that aside it wasn’t much of a way to mark the fact that our family has grown up and we are all in different places in our lives. It’s not as if our daughter’s departure is sudden or unexpected. She has been leaving home since she was seventeen when she spent a year in Quebec, then left home again when she studied in France for six months and lived in an apartment surviving on the smallest possible budget so she could blow it all backpacking through Europe for six months. The departures of her brothers have also helped prepare us for life after children. So we’ve known what it would be like to have an empty nest, or thought we did. Yes, we have plans for just the two of us, and yes, we can look forward to our life together, but there is still a big hole in our lives that used to be filled with cooking meals for lots of people, and a myriad of tasks undertaken for others and driven by love and a joy in being needed.
We saw one of our sons and his wife for dinner tonight and it reminded me that our lives are still interconnected and that a family is still a family no matter where we all live.