This Be The Blog blog my teen used me as a source of input, and merriment. Now I'm sort of getting my own back....
It's nearly two weeks since, like many parents this time of year, we packed the car to capacity and took our daughter off to uni. For her it's the start of a new, exciting era; for us it's back to the same old routine but with a huge gap in our lives. There are lots of things I'm going to miss about having her around the house but after a fortnight I've boiled the list down to these ten.
Firstly, a really practical thing - dinner! Unless out for the evening, the teen had become the cook of the house, rustling up stir-fries, curries or pollo alla cacciatora without any involvement from me. On the times she was out, I pulled something out of the freezer - ready meals or frozen fish and chips - not really a sensible diet to pursue everyday! So, urged along by the bags of beans, tomatoes and potatoes coming from the allotment, I'm back to cooking. It's not the same though. The teen liked music playing while she cooked and I used to dance around the house to it - not sensible when you're the one in charge of the food!
On another practical note - by Monday I'd noticed that the carpets were looking grubby, and blamed the dog of course. Then it suddenly struck me - for a long while the teen has been the person in charge of vacuuming! I'd slipped into the habit that at some point in the day without me lifting a finger the floors would all become miraculously clean - oops! Another chore to add to my list.
Three - music. Following three months of long, post-A level holidays, the house now feels too quiet. Most parents seem to complain about their children playing music or musical instruments around the house - I loved it. Apart from maybe during the early 70s listening to Radio Luxenbourg, I've never found music I really like played on the radio, but through the Teen and her review site I've discovered slightly edgier, alternative up and coming bands and artists that I do. I'm hoping I don't drop back into the same old, 'can't stand this so switch it off' habits or ending up turning into Smooth radio.
I also miss hearing her play the guitar - with music floating down the stairs and out the windows (maybe the neighbours will be pleased though)
What are we at? Four? Watching dvds. Not quite a girls' night in thing - though it frequently involved pizza - but I no longer have anyone to share my quirky taste in film and TV. I heard part of the sound track of Alfie playing on my Spotify playlist one day and realised that now I'll be watching Jude Law and/or Michael Caine alone. Hubby is NEVER going to watch romcoms or zombie movies or even hard-hitting off-beat thrillers like In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. He never joined us for Humans or Utopia, and couldn't put a face to any character from Borgen or Game of Thrones. Fortunately social media is full of folk who DO watch my kind of thing.
...and carrying on from sharing viewing tastes, the fact that I now have no one to share references and quotes from those films with - someone who knows dogs
CAN look up, prime ministers can dance down staircases, that 'he tastes
like you only sweeter', or can quote the whole of Alfie's closing speech (and most things Malcolm Tucker said). I made a throw away comment the other day about politics and Birgitte Nyborg, and hubby looked at me confused!
Six- her general enthusiasm and willingness to embrace the new and possibly weird. From her interest in cooking, tasting her dinner instead of consuming it as if a chore, and now moving to vegetarianism, through music and theatre, the side-shoots from psychology A level, and TED lectures on the web to her newly-found interest in politics, she's brought a lot of new ideas and ways of thinking to my attention. It's made me think about things I never would have queried and focused my ideas even if they're not always in line with hers.
Seven - someone who knows how to frame me and my knitwear pics or social media profile pics - and not make me look the size of a house! But also, someone who'll say if my clothing looks too weird, or even makes me look fat or older than I am - sometimes the 'you look great' answer isn't the right one, critical opinion can be better.
Eight - chatting over nothing and everything, often by text while she waited for a delayed bus, or upstairs to downstairs via PC. There's always social media but it meanders less. The nearest best thing is probably chatting to the folk I meet out dog-walking, starting with the weather, and moving on to their holidays, families, and, of course, dogs.
Nine - laughing. Stand-up comedians don't do it for me. The Thick Of It will raise a wry smile but only my teen can make me Laugh Out Loud, sometimes till I run out of breath and all my stomach muscles ache. I might even need to take exercise to keep those muscles tight.
...and number 10 of this list? List making! Like High Fidelity's Rob Fleming I do love a Top Ten List - from films starring John Cusack to music for Monday mornings, favourite books this year to best beaches, I'm a sucker, but you need someone to share them with and bounce ideas off of. Not such fun on your own
And for the Teen's version of these first weeks see This Be The Blog here
...and a year on, she opted for a gap year A New Routine , but eventually they all move away