sKurt and NC move out of the family home in a few months time, when the old man and I move back up north, about an hour away, to an area they refer to as the hinterland of Sydney. It’s not quite the Outback, but it’s far enough away from them to help us get some semblance of our “lives before children” back, before we die.
Their imminent move out of the nest has unleashed a spectrum of emotions. While the old man has hung up the bunting, ordered the balloons and written his speech, my emotions veer between despair and embarrassing displays of unfettered joy at the prospect of sleeping through the night again, depending on what part of the month I’m in.
Although Kurt is ready in some respects for his first grab at independence, I know that he is far from competent in others areas. So even though I am heeding the advice of my therapist – who has reminded me time and time again that he will only reach the level of maturity required to fly, through trial and error – I have formulated some contingency plans.
I know I mustn’t enable him, but these safety nets may help him get through those early wobbles in his transition, at the first signs of the wind leaving his sails. I know from experience that homesickness can catch you unawares and most of us have experienced it to some degree at some time or another, with the reality checks that cleaning fairies don’t exist and that money only stretches so far.
My biggest fear is how he will cope when he finds out that the Money Tree doesn’t really exist. This vulnerability to want to believe in the impossible is a trait he inherited from his maternal side, and I know that it means he will have a distinct disadvantage in terms of survival, and there is a very real chance that he may starve.
We can’t bail him out with cash because we learned a long time ago that Kurt’s ideas of priorities do not match ours. So I have come up with the idea of an emergency food drop that I can organize online. That way, he won’t be able to convert food money for cigarettes… or anything similar… like the system he set up at school with his lunch money, that contributed to his second expulsion.
The old man and were discussing this plan the other night, when NC’s ears pricked up.
‘Will I get food drops as well?’ she asked, to which the old man replied that he believed it highly unlikely that she, like her mother, would ever allow herself to starve.
‘What about wine drops instead?’ she asked. ‘You could get a bottle of wine delivered to me each day…or maybe one in the morning and one in the evening?’ she said, thinking aloud.
There are very few times in parenting when you feel overwhelmingly proud of your offspring, but as I looked at my daughter I felt my eyes well up in a similar way to the day of her graduation a few months ago.
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