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  • Writer's pictureCorinne Yeadon

All Grown Up

It was my youngest daughter’s graduation last month, so many people commented on how it only felt like two minutes since she was setting off. Not to me it didn’t, I felt every single day. Don’t get me wrong the passage of time meant her absence was less keenly felt but it still has been a challenging and sometimes heart breaking time. I knew on the first day of dropping her at the halls of residence she would never return home on a permanent basis and hallelujah to that, she wanted to spread her wings and I had no desire to clip them. I couldn’t be prouder of my girl and I say this firmly planting the credit at her door, she has worked hard, created opportunities for herself and it has paid off. It doesn’t hurt that she is kind and likeable too. It took me a long time to go into her bedroom, never mind change it and Sunday roasts had to be scrapped, due to the pain of the empty chair, we still have them but not necessarily on a Sunday. She wasn’t long into her degree when the pandemic struck, this should have been manna from heaven, her being dispatched home to mama, however due to her sister shielding meant returning to her dads instead. Although local, this provided zero comfort.

She was not afforded the privilege of financial support from us so juggled working all hours as a bartender with study and of course building a new life. Pressures on her time restricted visits home but we made the best of it. I have been welcomed like a goddess into her friendship group and had wonderful memory making quality time with her. I couldn’t have known three years ago the level of happiness I would feel about our reformed relationship, the shared experiences, and her contagious excitement about her new life. Other parents informed me it would get easier, but nothing could have prepared me for the gravitas of grief. Like anything it’s a process and sometimes the wisest thing is to allow yourself to feel, even when it's rotten, with the knowledge it’s not a permanent state.

The graduation was held on the hottest day known to mankind. The severe weather warnings of risk to life distracted somewhat from the bubbling emotions. It was a blessing I had the foresight to cart a litre of water with me which helped balance out the dehydration caused by blubbing and sweating. The graduation pics are not the serene images I had hoped for, I have witnessed competitors crossing the finish line at Tough Mudder looking less dishevelled. As she glided across the stage I just knew her thoughts would not be on her moment of glory but focused on avoiding decking it in front of peers, tutors and an audience. It brought to mind her fears of dropping her lunch tray at primary school and in all good faith me buying a book about lunch bunnies to allay her fears. This had the reverse effect further implanting the possible terror and shame awaiting her in the school dining hall.

In my dreams she was always about 3 years old, skipping by my side, holding my hand and chattering away. Weirdly after graduation she is now all grown up in my dreams. It clearly took a while for that one to land.

She has had so many fantastic experiences, which she has made happen, both in her chosen career and through travelling, has golden friendships, a smashing home and a lovely partner. I feel confident about her ability to achieve her goals and more importantly happiness. I’m by no means at a point of acceptance that my lickle baba is grown up and treading her own path but I am getting there.

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