Empty House

Sunday was a very strange day; it was almost as if time stood still. I am not referring here to the end of the Manchester derby where the ref seemed to be set on confirming that time is indeed relative. Seeing that my allegiances are of a red hue I was more than happy with the result.

The slowing of time that I refer to was when we dropped our youngest daughter off at her new student home in York.

She is technically an adult so one might wonder what the fuss is all about but there we were with all the other worried looking parents, letting our offspring fly.

Time stood still as we watched and waited for the right time to leave and return home.

It was obvious that all but a few of the new university students were more than keen for their parents to depart; I believe the announcement that there was live music and cheap alcohol available in the student bar drove this wish to be left alone.

My wife did what mums do and fussed her way around our daughter’s new room. I did what dads do and made sure her TV was tuned in correctly.

It was clear, however, that we could stall no longer; we were no longer required and so Mrs M stopped fluffing the pillows and I put the remote control down and we prepared to head back to our quiet and daughter free home.

I had made the ultimate sacrifice of missing the football in order to deliver our precious package to York and so on the way home I was quick to switch the radio. I managed to catch the last and controversial five minutes and twenty-seven seconds of the match.

Judging by the tone of several text messages my many Man City supporting g friends did not share my delight in the result.

Still celebrating this Mrs M and I began to reminisce on our twenty-five years of having children in our home.

It was at this point that time started to speed up as we asked the question that all parents of a certain age ask at times like this; ‘where has all the time gone?’

The paradox of time is that in the same moment of reflection the birth of our youngest daughter seemed like only yesterday and many years ago all mixed together.

We arrived home to a house that still had all the signs of having had a teenager manically filling suitcases with essential items of clothes.

We enjoyed having the freedom of being able to choose any programme on the TV and waiting for a text message from daughter number four assuring us that all was ok.

When the message finally arrived we eagerly looked to see how our precious girl was coping without us.

It read: going 2 club, can U bring my coat phone charger and extra money on Tuesday night.

We should have been annoyed at having to make the trip to York again but felt comforted that we were still needed.

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