And suddenly there was two

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They haven’t flown the nest just yet but both our daughters have been checking flights and reading TripAdvisor reviews about their potential destinations.

Last weekend the realisation struck me and the boss that this time next year we could be left staring at each other, running out of things to say with only the dog and two cats to divert our attention from the fact we’re both pushing 50 while rattling around an empty house that’s suddenly far too big.

Daughter #1 has finished writing her personal statement and picked her top five universities. We’ve been saying the long goodbye for quite a while now and have steeled ourselves for an autumn 2018 departure. But hang on, what’s this? Daughter #2 went to Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts Sixth Form open day in Liverpool last Saturday and fell in love with the place at first sight. Like her sister, she’s a bright kid who knows what she wants and how to get it. She’s clever enough to do well at A level but for years has told us she wants to be an actress – and sitting in a classroom learning about the metaphysical poets won’t be much help with that. The thing is, a daily commute to Liverpool isn’t going to work. So that would mean daughter #2 living in a big city five days a week – aged 16. Does the thought of that make your blood run cold? Because mine does. Luckily we have lots of close family in Liverpool and they’ve kindly offered to look after her, if she gets in to one of the finest performing arts schools in the country with all the opportunities that will bring. The point was made that daughter #2 would have more family around her in Liverpool (aunties, uncles, grandad and cousins) than she has here in Lancaster – mum, dad, sister, dog, cats.

To have one kid leaving home next autumn is bad enough, but to lose two within a few weeks looks careless. The boss always wanted strong and independent girls, but maybe not so strong and independent that they’re out the door with a knapsack on their back at 16 and 18.

And without the daily moans and groans of family life to write about, that would be the end of this column.

Enjoy it while it lasts.