- They will spend the first three weeks having cold after cold. Apparently this is normal, and those throat lozenges he mocked when I slipped them into his packing (what can I say, I’m an ex pharmacist) came in handy.
- He will message you regularly, but only to ask questions like how can he get Sky Sports on his computer.
- They need a list of easy menu ideas – they quickly get bored of pizza. A ‘first shop’ list is useful, too, if only to make sure they eat something that’s vaguely good for them.
- If you suggest he packs a large rucksack because he might go visiting friends at other universities for the weekend, it will be used to bring dirty washing home. That is my treat this weekend.
- He will have forgotten everything you told him about cooking before he left, though that does have an upside because you do get a phone call. If only to ask how you know when onions are done enough to add mince. Or how to fry an egg.
- He will be going to bed as you’re waking up.
- If you use a message app like WhatsApp, even if he’s not actually communicating with you, you can see what time he last looked at his messages so you know he’s still alive. This comes in handy when he messages at 11pm telling you he’s off to a Neon Rave Party…
- He will grow up almost overnight, going on pub crawls with people he’s never met, hopping on the night bus, joining clubs, cooking himself bacon and eggs. Things he would never have done at home.
As for me, I am trying to learn not to look at the empty place on the sofa with sadness, but with pride. My son worked his socks off and is now doing the course he wanted to do, in the place he wanted to be. He’s growing up, moving into the next phase of his life and already I can tell, in between the hard work, he’s going to have a ball. He even gets to walk past this every day on his way to lectures.