Hello Pip-Life

10 Things You Don’t Know You’ll Miss When Your Kid Leaves Home

June 26, 2015

Here is one for the parents and one for the people who have parents too. Ten things you don’t know you’ll miss when your kid leaves home. But you do miss them, because they’re not there anymore. They’ve disappeared out the door and into a terrace house a few kms from where you  live… These things have disappeared with them too:

  1. The noise – it’s so quiet when they go. The laughing and music and running up and down the stairs are replaced by… a quiet hum. Ho hum.
  2. The lack of leftovers – that Pad Thai you left in the fridge yesterday. It’ll still there this morning. No late night raids have occurred and everything that’s in the fridge stays there.
  3. The smell – I know. That sounds weird, but there’s the smell of shampoo and toast breaks and the perfume of pals who come and go. Those things are missable too.
  4. Replacing the draft stopper – no one is flying in and out of the house at all hours. The draft stopper is staying put. Snuggling up to the door like a champ.
  5. The vigilance – it’s sort of not your job to have half an eye on where they are anymore…
  6. The damp – there are no towels on the bathroom floor anymore.
  7. The cheese – you know that grated cheese that seemed to be all over the counter all the time? It’s not there. No more cheesy mess.
  8. The stuff creeping out the door of their room – their room is empty. The stuff has gone.
  9. The door answering – no more shall you answer the door 12 times a day to various ace young people who are here for a visit.
  10. The knowing – that they are there, even if they are asleep. They’re not there. It’s just you.
I’m telling you this stuff because I am your pal. Pals tell each other about the things no one speaks of.
I’m going to make some French Toast with Sriracha and try to live with the weird quietness a bit more…
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  • Reply Louise May 24, 2016 at 5:39 PM

    Nimber 10 is the worst. Total quiet. I talk to myself constantly just to hear a voice. Only child. Single parent. Am I still a single parent if he is gone from my home (but not my heart)?

  • Reply Nix Dolman May 24, 2016 at 4:18 PM

    I imagined this. My boys are small at the moment and I relish a moment of peace and quiet but I also love the noise and chaos and feeding everyone. It seems like yesterday when instarted following you and your boys were just little. Madness!

  • Reply Sam Pereira June 29, 2015 at 9:01 AM

    I recently found a letter my mum sent to me when I moved out. She wanted to be my first mail. It’s just a short note telling me how proud she is of her always independent daughter. Needless to say it survived my clean out.

  • Reply Frances June 26, 2015 at 10:25 PM

    Oh Pip, this is just beautiful and poignant. I moved out of home 9 years ago, down to the big smoke to uni and adulthood. I remember so well watching my parents drive away after helping me move and the mixed up feeling of excitement and abandonment. Not once did I think about how they felt, with their 3 kids no longer living at home. My bedroom (at Mum and Dad’s) is a now quasi-storage space and my parents are doing things they couldn’t do when raising kids, like going to Sweden and buying a new car… Even though it’s not my main place of residence, Mum and Dads’ will always be HOME because that’s where my heart is. Thanks again for a beautiful post.

  • Reply Pinky Poinker June 26, 2015 at 9:12 PM

    I have one out of five left at home. Yes. The grated cheese. I totally relate to that. I guess the plates of leftover dinners I left in the fridge for them which were never eaten, the constant knocks at the door at eleven at night asking if they could borrow my phone charger, the whining about internet disconnection, and the slamming of doors at 3:00am when they came home from the night clubs. I love them more than my life but there are some positives 🙂

  • Reply Fiona June 26, 2015 at 8:24 PM

    Hi Pip
    When my daughter moved interstate she sent me a thank you note. She said she never realized all the things I did for her till she moved away and had to do them all for herself – shopping, cleaning, bill paying etc. That was so nice to receive. I’ve still got one at home but both my girls have moved out. I miss them every day.

  • Reply Andi June 26, 2015 at 7:30 PM

    Naaaaww… I feel your pain. I’m not feeling your pain right now, but I can imagine it because I miss my boys every time they go to school camp, or out with friends. I never want them to leave. So selfish of me. I’m already looking for new things to do because those teenagers don’t need me anymore… and I miss their little selves – the little 4 year old and 8 year old selves… but all things must pass and luckily my cousins are having babies so there are new little kidlets to play with…

  • Reply helen edwards June 26, 2015 at 5:42 PM

    My oldest moved out over a year ago. I have been so busy with my other two who are 6 and 16 and quirky kids who NEED so much of me. My oldest never needed much. He was the first born, the easy one, the leader. He does not visit much. Although my house is still full of smells and cheese and kids and noise, there is a big silence from him not being here. Big hugs and hoping you can fill the quiet with some other things soon xx

  • Reply Anna June 26, 2015 at 5:05 PM

    Hi Pip,
    this makes me sad. As I am living a life of shared parenthood of fairly young children with the ex (week-week) I already recognize these feelings and sort of anticipate how this will be ongoing and one day it will be permanent, as the kids will move out, like what you are now experiencing. Could they somehow stay young, forever, and could things go back to good olden days, when they were little and always there? …I know..

    • Reply The Hipsterette June 26, 2015 at 6:17 PM

      Hi Anna
      I know your situation and it’s difficult. Whoever invented the theory of “shared” custody thought it was a wonderful idea but probably did not have to “live” the reality. Childhood is short and “shared custody” makes it even shorter. I don’t profess to know what the solution is – but I have a feeling it might not be “shared custody”.

      • Reply PatrickC June 26, 2015 at 7:35 PM

        Hi Hipsterett and Anna,

        You are right about shared parenting but the impact is the same for both parents. I’d die not being able to see my kids and I’m very sure that it would be the same for the majority of “shared” parents in the time that their children was with the other parent.

        I don’t know what the solution is though that doesn’t break the heart of the parents and the children. I do not envy the jobs that the judges have in the family court. These would be the toughest of all decisions to make.

        • Reply Anna June 26, 2015 at 9:03 PM

          I absolutely still think this is the best way, and my ex and I certainly have agreed to this arrangement mutually, no judges involved. I would never want my kids not to know their dad in an everyday way, nor would I want to give that time up myself.
          I do recognize that heartbreak is the same for everyone involved, sadly also for the children.

  • Reply Romana June 26, 2015 at 4:12 PM

    My son hasn’t left home yet, but he is so grown up, working and socialising, it is as if he has. It is the little things that are the big things, as you say. This is what happened to me last week end. I pruned my grape vine back for Winter. Clearing away some of the dead leaves from a a pot plant that has been on my back veranda since we moved in 15 years ago. It revealed a cache of Mr 18’s play figurines from when he was Mr 8. How could I have not noticed them before? But there they were. Sniff. I keep reminding myself that having him grow up and turn into the amazing adult he has become is something you always knew was coming. “Bittersweet” as Nic commented. , I am telling myself it’s ok to be a sookie lala, it’s a lot to lose when they go!!

  • Reply Karen June 26, 2015 at 9:37 AM

    I feel for you Pip. In the last six months, my two eldest kids have moved out – my girl is less than 1km away and I see here every second day. My boy is further away and isn’t good with the calls or texst so I definitely miss him. There are some good things that have come of it, after you get over the initial shock. The washing machine gets less use. Less menu planning (soup and toast can be a meal now without any eye-rolling). Less shopping for staples like toilet paper, washing powder, coffee, milk, bread. The front lawn has grown back after not being tortured by car tyres. No driveway shuffle either – 1 car instead of 3 to co-ordinate. All the logistical things. My daughter’s room has turned into a craft/storage/studio which will be wonderful when I organise it a bit more. But one of the best things is seeing my kids taking responsibility for their life/work/finances. Their successful independence is the thing that really brings a tear to my eye x

    • Reply Meet Me At Mikes June 26, 2015 at 10:07 AM

      OH gosh yes! Snap! Two have gone for me too… one more to go. Gulp. I’m never letting him leave! I love the soup bit – we were talking about that yesterday. SOUP FOR DINNER!!! Thanks for reading, Karen. Love to you. x

  • Reply Bec June 26, 2015 at 9:36 AM

    I bet he feels all of these things in reverse.
    There are no leftovers to steal.
    She’s not angry about cheese.
    No comfort in knowing you were there too.
    You both will grow from this wierdness.
    Invite him and the ace pals for dinner.
    Slip an i love you note in his leftovers.
    And find happiness in the quiet.
    You have done a great job in lots of ways, You’re also my favourite bloggy friend!


    • Reply Meet Me At Mikes June 26, 2015 at 10:05 AM

      Hah! 🙂 I am never angry about cheese! It’s funny, you would think that kid number two leaving would be less sad – but it feels the same each time. Even though I went through this with Rin too!

  • Reply Nic June 26, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    Aw Pip, my boy moved out in February. I thought for good but he came back so I only got a short insight into how you are feeling. I was a bit broken actually, I wasn’t ready for his childhood to be over. Is it over already? It can’t be. We were just reading Hairy McLary books yesterday. Sniff.

    And yep, the leftovers staying there made me cry, the lack of the wet facewashers left in the shower that did my head in all of the time made me cry. Ugh. It’s bittersweet. xoxox

    • Reply Meet Me At Mikes June 26, 2015 at 9:07 AM

      I’m crying for your face washers now. It’s the little things that are the big things! x

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