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Flying the nest

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With thousands of teenagers all over the country getting set to leave home and set off on new adventures, Bromford colleague, Fiona Hillen shares her feelings as her son flies the nest.

“Monday morning – so much to do!  We arrived home the day before from a wonderful family holiday in Spain, the tears are so near, the mere mention of Tuesday’s event start me off!

“What’s happening on Tuesday?  My eldest child who turned 18 towards the end of July is leaving home to take up a volunteering position in Youth Ministry, my sensible side is so happy for him, it’s what he wants to do but my heart is aching to know he won’t be at home in the safety of the family unit.

“From day one we nurtured our wonderful little ‘bundle of joy’ by encouraging him to be himself, over the last 18 years he has grown into a handsome 6’ tall, sensitive and kind gentleman, yes there have been times when he has tried our patience and we have tried his but we all know this is quite normal between teenagers and their parents.

“I quietly cry as I iron all the freshly laundered clothes he will be taking with him, I even iron his PJs, he probably won’t notice and if he does it will be so un-cool, after all, he wants to be the next great big guitar Rock Star and I’m sure they don’t have ironed PJ bottoms!  I don’t care if he notices or not, I just want to do ‘Mom’ things for him all day today because tomorrow he leaves home.
“He, my other two Son’s and my Husband pop in and out of the room as I iron, I disguise my emotions by either keeping my head down or leaving the room and talking back to them as I go – I can’t possibly let them know just how difficult I’m finding this to deal with.

“By 7.00 pm all the packing and preparation is complete, our hall is crammed with suit cases, guitars, bags of toiletries, books and electrical equipment – it’s real he really is leaving home tomorrow.

“The alarm went off bright and early on Tuesday – I told myself to be brave, my emotions won’t make this life changing day for the whole family easy, they’ll only make it more difficult for us all to deal with if I don’t keep them in check.   Sausage sandwiches all round – his favourite and it was time to leave!

“On arrival at the destination where it’s planned he is to spend the next 12 months my Son, my Husband and I were met with a huge welcome from past and present volunteers, their friendliness reassured me he was going to be okay, these young people are giving their time as volunteers to work with other young people and their enthusiasm was truly amazing!

“We spent a little time unpacking and setting up his room – it looked great, he was smiling and it was time for us to leave, big hugs for Mom and Dad, I fought back the tears, I must not embarrass him!  As he moved away with a group and before I could start blubbering, two lovely young people stepped forward and offered to show my Husband around the beautiful, historic buildings and grounds. They had been volunteers last year and had returned to help settle the ‘new comers’ in or should I say put the ‘new comers’ parents at ease!

“As parents we spend years preparing our children for the big wide world, teaching them to take responsibility, go for their dreams and instilling a good work and moral ethic, hopefully we’ve succeeded, that said it’s been an incredibly emotional few days!
To all the Moms and Dads who are facing similar separations over the next few months, we have to be strong, this is what we’ve wanted for our children, their happiness - and leaving home is their next step to realising their dreams and aspirations.”