Over the last couple of years, our household has become smaller, what with eldestson moving out and youngestson being at university for most of the time (although his summer term is only three weeks, WTF? Don’t get me started on that….). Middleson -who does live at home -works his socks off with very long hours so we only see him randomly, passing in the kitchen as he dashes for the morning train. Middleagedad and I are rattling around in a beautifully tidy, although unnervingly quiet, semi-empty nest.
Although I love the peaceful calm, I also miss the action. Having three boys can be tiring, exasperating and everywhere is nearly always untidy, but it’s never dull. Our boys are adventurous and curious, so we get an insight into cultural events we’d not normally hear about or go to. When they’re not here, we have a glorious few weeks of tranquility, then middleagedad and I start to get a bit bored without them.
To compensate for this, I’ve started to extend an open invitation to friends to come and stay. And should their kids get interviews/jobs in the capital, we’re happy to put them up while they look for more permanent accommodation. Friends from abroad know that they can always count on a spare room should they need to visit and mates who come t town for work can just rock up with an overnight bag. 80plus-year-old dad is also a regular visitor from his rural (read deadly quiet) homestead. You can probably see where this is going…..
Months ago, my sister asked if I could have my nephew to stay next week, as she and her husband are off to Moscow to see their eldest, who is on a year’s placement in Russia for his degree. Max is here for a week and we’re really looking forward to having him to stay because he is music mad, and we anticipate much singing and dancing (he has his own youtube channel). Popping in and out is our musician friend Rachel, who is currently touring Europe and uses us as a base from which to navigate her gig-to-gig travels around the UK. I love it when she stays as she sings her way around the house and her beautiful voice is a constant joy when she’s here. Youngestson – and his DJ music-making paraphernalia -is home from Uni for Easter, and just last week my (almost) niece secured her first proper job in London, and her new employers want her to start work tomorrow….so she’s staying until she finds her feet.
Oh joy. A full house.
Part of me thinks this was a bad move. Once you start to rely on things being exactly where you put them last and your oyster card doesn’t mysteriously disappear even though you know you left it on the hall table and your iPad stays safely in its charging station rather than moving (all by itself apparently) upstairs, you begin to like the predictability of it all. Middleagedad and I quite like just opening a can of tuna for ourselves now, rather than cooking big meals and we can actually get to the bottom of the washing pile in a day.
But part of me thinks that sounds very dull and boring, possibly a little grumpy-old-person-ish. Because what I really miss are young people hanging out, telling me about their day, being noisy, creating a stir and generally having fun. And while we were busy matching socks and tidying away shoes, our kids turned into fascinating adults that are terrific company and who do amazing things all on their own.
So, we will undoubtably learn new stuff, hear new music, track lost phones, act as a taxi service and cook giant meals again while the house fills up with bustle and energy. And mess, obvs.
And this is a good thing. We have plenty of time to be quiet and organised when we’re old. Wether I’m still saying this in a month or two’s time is of course open for debate, but for the moment, I’m thankful for the chance to be surrounded by this second round of young adults.
Now I must dash because just to be on the safe side, I’m off to hide my phone charger….