… and I am bereft.
It happened suddenly and without warning. I thought it would be the kind of thing we’d talk about, we’d prepare for, we’d work up to, I would talk her through it, Simon would talk me through it, we’d get there together. As a unit.
Then suddenly, on a Friday night, she went and did it all by herself. Simon and I ate spaghetti on the sofa, watching District 9 whilst Aifric slept in her Sleepyhead in her room. For a number of nights we had been trying to get her down by 8pm. She’s a social animal and only happy when hanging out with the grown-ups. The plan on this particular night was the same as before – milk, story, settle, sleep – and then wake her in a few hours to feed her again and put her down in OUR room in her Moses basket for her long sleep. Except we didn’t wake her for her final feed – not because we’re bad parents but because she was sleeping and we felt maybe she didn’t need that last feed… at some point before she’s 18 she’d have to drop that 10pm feed (the milk feed… I am sure by the time she’s 18 she’ll be doing a different kind of 10pm feed). I JUST DIDN’T REALISE IT WOULD BE THEN, ON THAT FRIDAY NIGHT.
And she stayed sleeping. We discussed what we would do – we quickly made a plan. I’d go to bed, Simon would have a few games on the Playstation, he’d see what would happen, and if she were to wake, he’d get me and I’d feed her and if not… then happy days.
Apart from… NOT HAPPY DAYS. Because now she’s left. She’s moved out of home. She’s saddled up her horse and is riding west into the sunset, silhouetted against that golden light in her tiny grobag like in an old western movie. Basically she’s gone slightly down the hall into the room next to ours and I am left standing alone at our bedroom door, forlorn and weepy. I can see it all happening before my very eyes. She’ll be drinking in a park with BOYS before we know it and then going to University and I’ll be left crying my eyes out driving back down the M1 after dropping her off.
I need to calm down, have a glass of wine and embrace the fact that our evenings are finally ours.
*I still worry she’s too young (read: I am not ready for this) but Simon tells me she’s an independent woman and so who am I to argue with that?!
**PHOTO: Aifric catching all the zzzs in her own bed