I have been dreading the empty nest. For over 20 years I have been a mother, and really, nothing else. This was a mistake on many levels, but there we are. Now my twins are 18 and off to uni. Which would have been bad enough, but the one who was living with my ex has gone away, and the one who was living with me and had nothing to do with his dad for quite some time has – in a complete turn up for the books – moved into his sister’s bedroom, which his dad is renting him at exorbitant rent for the few weeks that our daughter is away (Cambridge terms being shorter than London).
I thought I would mind this a lot. That my son would not have a ‘normal’ uni experience, living with other students (but he was turned down: it seems the limited rooms are awarded to people from further afield, so this would have applied if he had lived with me, too). That the person who would be exchanging news over supper at the end of the day would be that p.o.s. and not me. That my ex was once again finding a way to use our children as cash cows (it’s a long story but he made a fortune from one daughter and owes a fortune to the other). That they would all be having a high old time in his bachelor pad overlooking Hyde Park (where they employ a cleaner), strolling to lectures or ‘work’, having a lie-in, having all the entertainments and bright lights of London at their doorstep. That it would hurt to think of my son meeting the new girlfriend.
To my astonishment (and allowing that it is early days), I not only find I don’t really give a shit, but in fact, so far, I’m enjoying it!
Not that I am doing anything with my new found freedom: I am still working long hours and stressed, still hate getting up early and spending an hour and a half or more on the tube in the dark, and then again on the way home, again in the dark, through the rush hour to an empty home. But (touch wood) I think I have finally finished the book. (I know I have said it before, and edits keep cropping up, but it’s gone to be set now.) And though my son was no trouble at all, indeed was helpful about the place, good company at dinner when he was home, and often just holed up in his room, if not playing the piano, it’s surprising how much free-er I feel. Just not having to think about making his dinner, or when he will be home. I thought I would miss him more than I do. We got on very well, made each other laugh. And I thought that I would be bothered to be alone at night with the rats and other sounds. But not really, not yet, anyway.
And though I think of him, it’s in a ‘good luck to ’em’ way.
My ex does not deserve his son; he doesn’t deserve his daughters either. The way he has treated them is absolutely nothing short of scandalous. Indeed it is actually and literally criminal. But fuck him. For my son’s sake I am glad if he has a relationship with the son of a bitch. It’s a shame it’s a largely pecunary one, as it was with the other child. But what can I do?
I regret also, that he continues not to cough up the child maintenance he neglected to pay over the years, which now amounts to a tidy sum. It’s hurtful and rude. Luckily I don’t need it (though I sure could do with it).
There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience. And mine is clear.
My job is pretty crap. But in a few days I am over my 6 month probation and I don’t any longer have the feeling that they are about to fire me. So I have a job I pretty much hate and live in a place I pretty much hate, but things could be a lot worse. I do an honest day’s work and I live within my means. I have a few modest social events coming up. And I am starting therapy. So, as Ian Fletcher in WIA would say ‘it’s all good’.