18 and off – week 78

I started writing this in January but baulked at the emotions of having Number One Teen leave home. He’s been gone for a month. And by gone, I mean, Number One Teen is now attending university in the United States. Whilst most of the world is locked down and staying put, its the tenacity of a teenager that gets him into college and then out of a country that’s had its borders shut for nearly a year.

The initial sense of loss is real. Jab in the heart kind of feeling. Profound. Unreasonable? Likely.

Leaving home is a natural path of growing up, maturity, getting on in the world. Yet for the parents, this pathway is wrenching. I have friends who feel this same sense of loss with their Teens moving to another state. So it’s not distance, it has to be so much more. There are physiological neurons at play. A quick google points to research on this topic cited as “empty nest syndrome”, even if there are children still at home. These feelings of sadness and loss are typical in “empty nesters”, as part of the transition from parent to self.

Number One Teen rings daily (special thanks to Jan and Brian) with the vignette’s of his life that feel important. It’s the small bits that parents get use to, hanker for in the everyday madness of parenting.

One month into this transition I am feeling better, am busy with study (I’ve re-entered university life as a student) and have Number Two Teen shielding the next wave.

In two years, the time Number Two Teen leaves home, I’ll be back in fulltime work with an armour of tools in my kit to face another transition!

What? – week 77

We’ve been in Stage Three lockdown for over a month and remain in a State of Emergency until Monday 11 May.

Compared to most of the world we are doing fine; health services are coping, infections are falling and the number of deaths minimal (although every death is one too many). We are not experiencing the scenes of the UK and the US.

The economy has taken a hit with massive job losses and whole industries disappearing. If you’re a gambler or alcoholic, then time is aplenty to ply your expertise to a growth sector with some figures suggesting an increase of 160 percent. Small cafes have become the milk bars (corner stores) of the 1960s with eggs, milk, and homemade dishes to takeaway and reheat. Online retailers are doing ok too. Bored working from home earners are spending more time online grabbing new rags to wear for the endless revolving Zoom meetings and drinks parties.

Teen One and Two are moving through the motions of online learning. The gift of private education is their learning experience is better than most. The boys are robust and whilst ready to go back to school NOW, they are coping; an eye on the rest of the world has given the boys a springboard to keep them afloat.

Teen One is in Year 12. Already accepted into university there is a confidence about him that will get him beyond this time of school. He simply needs head down for just a few more months before new adventures begin. In the meantime, Teen One and Mama are tackling daily online tummy crunches lead by 20-something bendable yogis.

Year 10 is where Teen Two is sitting. A capable student, he will do well either way albeit boredom has settled in. Using his camera, Teen Two captures and shares the beauty of every day; nature, urban grunge, and the slowed city. I’m pleased he sees the light rather than the misery that could so easily wrap any of us.

Not to let stay at home change the way I feel, my momentum is kept high with daily dress-ups to tackle the every day; vintage dresses, silk ball gowns, sparkly shoes. Handmade leather scarves, earrings and repurposed belts made by me add to the fun of getting ready for the day.

Not a tracksuit to be seen. This is my ISO reality. What’s yours?

All love and stay safe

Jessica Purbrick

4 May 2020