From Kidland to an empty nest

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In six months’ time, both our kids could be out the door, never to return… unless they want some money or their washing doing.

The boss has always said that she wanted strong, independent daughters, who could stand on their own two feet and think for themselves, which only goes to prove that you should always be very careful what you wish for.

To lose one daughter from under our roof in September might be seen as unfortunate, but to lose both is positively careless.

Daughter #1 has had her bags figuratively packed for some time now. Five university offers mean that one way or another, she’ll be on her way before her summer tan has faded.

Last week she even floated the idea of taking a year off and going travelling around South America on her own, but I think that was just to provoke an “over my dead body” reaction out of the pair of us. It worked, and only the threat of a rewritten will with everything signed over to her little sister made her think twice.

Now daughter #2 is looking for the exit, what with performing arts schools auditions done, one offer in the bag and another pending in mid-April which would mean our 16-year-old living with her auntie in the big city during the week and back home for the occasional weekend, but only when there’s not much going on in Partytown.

Which leaves me and the boss more or less where we started when we first shacked up together in a little terraced house in Vine Street in 1996 – only now we’re 22 years older and with a lunatic sighthound and two yeowling cats in tow.

Next month sees our 20th wedding anniversary (her telegram from the Queen and medal are in the post) and the big question is this: what are we going to talk to each other about once all the day-to-day kids stuff is out of the way? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

For as long as we both can remember (to be honest everything’s a blur since November 1999 when daughter #1 popped out) we’ve been asylum seekers in Kidland. Exhausted, potless but happy.

But from September, it’s just me looking at her and her looking at me.