Week eight : Limbo

It’s been a strange week. My two lovely children are getting ready to go back to school. My daughter has been boarding for the past three years and starts her final year and my son has decided to join her at the same school after our move from Hong Kong. He got a good set of IGCSE results and is looking forward to A levels and my daughter matched him with super AS results enabling her to carry on her chosen A levels. I’m very proud of them both, they work hard and realise that although the only way they can get into university is with good grades,  good grades don’t make good people and don’t define who you are. My kids are well rounded and balanced, thoughtful and considerate although mostly only after 11am when they get out of bed and if they are supplied with copious amounts of crisps 😉

So last weekend we hit the shops for new clothes, toiletries, stationary and of course tuck. Next weekend we make the 2 1/2 hour drive on Friday to visit the uniform shop, spend Saturday with father-in-law (guardian to the children when I am away), hen back to school on Sunday with son making final A level choices and then leave him there, take daughter back on Monday then I drive back home to Cuckfield. I have audio books queued up ready for the journeys! It will be an emotional time but we all know it is the right place for them to be and they are happy to be at that school. It’s also the first time I’ve taken them, normally my hubby does it because HK schools start in the middle of August so I was always at work. I have tissues in the car………

Although you never stop parenting whatever age your kids are, there is obviously a role change as they grow up. I’m not changing nappies, preparing packed lunches, picking them up from the school gates but they still need me in much more personal ways. I love the conversations we have and I am especially proud that even when we argue, they make up pretty quickly and get on with each other and me. We all miss hubby/Dad and have found electronic ways to keep in touch, Skype and a family group whatsapp mean we all know what’s going on at the same time.

Limbo? Well, I suppose it is the question every empty-nesting parent must face. Where do you go from here? I know I am the glue that binds us all together. I know I am the homemaker providing everyone with a physical place to come home to. I know I am the emotional force in our family. The question is how to balance all that with what makes me tick. I suspect that is a question I will find answers to over the coming months on my own. I also have to start to re-embrace the UK as my home, part of me is still very attached to Hong Kong. When we moved there I decided the only way to live was to throw myself into everything it had to offer. As a family, we did the usual expat thing every summer, we got on a plane for 12 hours with copious amounts of luggage (the UK gets four seasons in one day to quote Sting), rushed round visiting as many people as we could catching up on a year’s worth of news before packing it all back up and facing the queues at LHR for the return flight home and jet lag. Knowing I’m not going back has put a different set of parameters in my head. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that I’m near my family and I LOVE I’m going to see my UK friends so much more (although most live miles away from my house), I just miss home.

However, I do live in the most beautiful village and if you ready the gravestone, you’ll see a family who had a long expat tradition!

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