Friday, April 04, 2014

The absence of bookcases

Last Friday, my first-born left home.

She has done this before, of course.From the times when she ran away to the bottom of the garden as a child (Mummy - you just don't understand!) through her departure to work at a Thai orphanage in her Gap year, to her undergraduate and post-graduate courses. In fact, though she has spent the last year largely living at the vicarage, she's been more absent than present since she first left home at 19, so that I never ever took her presence for granted, but enjoyed it hugely when she was here. 

Despite this, last week was different.

You see, this time she took not only herself and the contents of her wardrobe - but also her cat, her books AND the bookcases they had lived upon.
So, in the space of a few days a room that was full of her creative presence, a wonderful muddle of fabric and print, almost always with a cat curled up on the bed, was transformed into an abandoned shell...a space that looks a touch grubby, a little sad, and very very EMPTY.

It was the departure of the books that made me realise that this is real. She really has made her home in another place (though she will still have a room that is "hers" in the Canonry, I really don't expect she'll be aiming to spend much time in it) - and that's just as it should be. She has friends, work and a whole network of connections that make the south-west the place for her and I suspect that even had I not been on the move north, she would soon have wanted to avoid a daily commute to Bath/Bristol and struck out on her own.
That's what growing up is all about - and though it's less fun for the parent than for the child, it's part of the fabric of life.

And, as so often, my daughter has helped me to see things in a new way. Her That empty room of hers has helped me to realise that, much though I love the vicarage, and happy though our time living here has been, when you take away the people it IS just a house...
In 4 weeks time, DV, we'll be settling into another environment, cramming the empty spaces there with the trash and the treasures of family life, filling its silence with our noise, the chatter, the squabbles and the music. I have no idea how life will be there, what events will shape our family in the time we spend there - but I'm pretty confident that once my book boxes have been unpacked and the cats are back to purring on my bed, I'll be certain we have come home.

1 comment:

jo(e) said...

Over Christmas, my firstborn finally finished cleaning out the closet in the room that used to be her bedroom. She still lives in the area, but I don't think she'll ever live with us again.

Your posts so often resonate with my life!