Empty Nest - How do I get over not being able to get there without drama?

(28 Posts)
SpongeBobJudgeyPants Mon 19-Sep-16 17:10:46

DD has chosen a uni that is a five hour car drive away. Her choice, not my place to guilt-trip her out of it. Have dropped her off last week, and have been dealing with 'What's my NI no, who's my doctor, can you send my passport cos i can't find my ID' ever since....if only she had thought of these things two days ago when XH was going to see her... I'm pretty sure she'll be fine, but I have discovered if I don't do the drive (find it very stressful, but possible in an emergency) the train fair, even about six weeks ahead with a railcard, is about a hundred quid return. Would probably be cheaper to fly... How do I get over myself and the fear of not being able to get there sooner? How have other people coped? TIA.

OP’s posts: |
Decorhate Mon 19-Sep-16 17:32:54

If it is a genuine emergency you would just have to drive or suck up the train fare. But how likely is that to happen? The cheapest train fares are available around 12 weeks before so worth booking in advance if you just fancy calling up for the weekend

JennieLee Mon 19-Sep-16 17:38:31

It is very easy to communicate with children now - by text/Skype/email/What'sApp/mobile phone etc etc.

When I was at university it was writing letters or a call box.

The reality is it's about parents learning to cope without children and children learning to cope without parents. The university will have all sorts of pastoral support which your daughter will be able to access.

Also if you were ever to be seriously worried you could ring them. (Although confidentiality means that they will not be able to talk to you about your child.)

They survive. So do we.

Hedgesinthewind Mon 19-Sep-16 18:12:32

Why would you need to go there? If there's a medical emergency, aren't there doctors & hospitals where she is?

She's growing up. Enjoy the space & the quiet ...

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Mon 19-Sep-16 22:34:26

Thanks all. Will look at 12 weeks ahead for fares. I agree about ease of communication. I left home at 18 without a phone in the house where I lived, which seems unthinkable now. Perhaps my parents were just pleased to be rid of me I just miss her. but not the messiness smile

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Peaceandl0ve Mon 19-Sep-16 23:41:24

It is difficult though. I have issues from my childhood that cause anxiety over situations over which I have no control.
I have had messages from DD "where is this", "i cant find that", and "what do i do now" i know i have to let go, but actually doing it is difficult. We had one minor crisis, not really a crisis, but it felt like it, and i couldn't, and I know I shouldnt control or sort it but it took me back to my anxiety issues....ho hum, we are all growing as people folks.

Personally i dont mind admitting i have a way to go...

ShowMe Tue 20-Sep-16 01:19:13

Have you looked at megabus?


VimFuego101 Tue 20-Sep-16 01:32:41

Agree, look into Megabus/ national express coaches.

worriedworker01 Tue 20-Sep-16 12:57:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Tue 20-Sep-16 15:46:58

Thanks. Peace I think that might be my problem too... sad. National Express are slightly cheaper, haven't checked mega bus, or flying there.

OP’s posts: |
HereIAm20 Wed 21-Sep-16 14:52:04

Ds has just started at Queens, Belfast so a plane ride away!

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Thu 22-Sep-16 16:50:47

Sympathies Here, but in some cases it would be cheaper for me to fly than train it. Have found out I can get the bus for about £40 but can't tell if that means eleventy billion changes or not.

OP’s posts: |
JennieLee Fri 23-Sep-16 08:22:55

As far as I can tell this is mainly about maternal separation anxiety.

There's nothing to suggest that the daughter herself is likely to find particular difficulties adjusting. (The sort that would arise from - for example - problems with physical or mental health.)

I did find it weird when my own daughter left a year ago - particularly when, a couple of weeks, I rang and she was stressed. However, in that case nothing would have been gained by rushing down. Developmentally she needed to learn to sort things out herself, with her parents making supportive noises from a distance.

I hope everyone adjusts and your daughter flourishes.

WrongEndoftheTelescope Fri 23-Sep-16 11:13:20

I left home at 18 without a phone in the house where I lived, which seems unthinkable now.

Rather than stressing unnecessarily about "getting to" your DD "without drama" maybe you might reflect on the contradiction in your own experience and your expectations of parenting your daughter now she's starting to become independent?

Here's a different view from a university tutor - I see young people trying to get away from overbearing parenting all the time - the weight on my students from their parents expectations, the emotional blackmail and the guilt my undergrads report, is really worrying.

And it really doesn't help students. Indeed, in my experience of teaching undergrads for several decades, it hinders their full development. I hear from undergrads that they deliberately chose a university because of its distance from parents - I can quite sympathise in some cases ...

stealthsquiggle Fri 23-Sep-16 11:29:33

My parents were at least 14 hours away when I was at Uni (they moved to the Far East!) and I know my DM stressed about it - especially as it would have been hard for me to call them (1 payphone between ~40 students) and there was no email - communication was by letter only, taking about 10 days each way. I dare say in a true emergency someone would have got hold of them somehow, but it didn't arise.

Did I miss them? Yes. Did it help to make me more independent? Definitely.

I think this initial transition is the hardest part, at whatever age they leave - once she is settled and "at home" you will probably feel a lot better about it too.

Could you maybe send her semi-regular "care packages" - in the age of instant communication it is easy to forget how great it was to get a small parcel of nonsense, sent with love (and no attached guilt trips!) from home every now and then.

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Fri 23-Sep-16 21:45:28

Thanks peeps. Logically, I coped and so will she. Feel better now she seems to be managing, and eating pasta bake etc. She is pretty capable really, just a bit scatty as I was. I did think about a semi regular care package, seems like a good idea. What sort of stuff did you like getting stealth?

OP’s posts: |
stealthsquiggle Fri 23-Sep-16 23:21:38

Random treats - a packet of nice biscuits, some hot chocolate, a snugly pair of socks, silly bits of stationery - maybe a small coffee shop gift card? I used to get things like stamps and phone cards, but not really relevant any more.

My father used to get fruit cake in the post when he was an Uni - apparently it made him very popular grin

circular Sat 24-Sep-16 08:18:45

Nor sure if mentioned unthread, but Megabus can be a train. Will be a fixed time, and the slower service . Some very cheap deals, especially less popular times,

My own DD1 a real home bird, young for her age, very disorganised, just over 2 hours drive away. Just gone into 2nd year, still get the 'where's my and how to calls'. But figure if these are her main worries then she is getting on OK. Most of my answers were in the form of a web link lol.
I don't think more contact makes them any less independent, but in the early days let her start the convos, so she didn't feel pressured. Get lots of pics of her cooked dinners too.
Still plenty contact, but that suits us. Usually only comes back for w/e if there's a specific reason/event. I've visited (pre-arranged} too. Has her car there this year, so suspect will make her more independent.

Have sent a few care packages. Cereal bars, fudge, chocolate, savoury crackers, lightweight clothes, key rings, make up wipes to add to list above. If you pack cleverly, can do up to 2kg 'small parcel' 2nd class very cheaply (about £2.80 IIRC). Also sent the odd bit direct from Amazon.

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Sat 24-Sep-16 20:31:39

A bus that's a train you say? smile Good idea, and will take on board the good suggestions for care packages. Thanks all.

OP’s posts: |
circular Sat 24-Sep-16 22:06:48


Should be apparent when you chose the route whether it's bus or train.
Travelling by option will show All, Bus and/or Train.
If All selected, it will be obvious from journeys returned as will be from/to Coach or Train stations.

stealthsquiggle Sun 25-Sep-16 21:48:01

Apparently my lovely SIL has posted cake, from France, to DS (just started at boarding school). It hasn't arrived yet so I have no idea how that will be received grin

dotdotdotmustdash Sun 25-Sep-16 23:35:51

My Dd17 left a couple of weeks ago to spend a year studying Mandarin at a Uni in China. I don't even have a passport.

scaryteacher Tue 27-Sep-16 17:11:38

There will come a point OP when you breathe a sigh of relief as you wave goodbye at the beginning of each term (especially after your child has eaten through the entire stash of peanut butter, and the one I like is only available in Sainsbury, and I live in Belgium!!!).

I sent ds off to board at 16 for sixth form, so university wasn't so bad. I am at the end of the phone if he needs anything. What is really scary is that I look at him now, and I was married with a house at his age, yet I am unsure at times if he is safe to be let out on his own (he will be 21 in 3 weeks)!

Leeds2 Tue 27-Sep-16 18:38:03

Have you heard much from her dot? Is she studying Mandarin, or is it just something she fancied doing? Sounds like something which would appeal to my DD! Could you possibly go and visit, if that is feasible for you?

scary, I only now realise what my mum went through when I left! And although I don't think I was safe to be let out by myself, I did survive!

dotdotdotmustdash Tue 27-Sep-16 19:09:10

Have you heard much from her dot? Is she studying Mandarin, or is it just something she fancied doing? Sounds like something which would appeal to my DD! Could you possibly go and visit, if that is feasible for you?

Hi Leeds2. Yes, she's studying Mandarin - 3 hours of language per day and 1.5 hrs of Chinese culture classes (music, sports, arts etc) Mon - Fri until next summer. She only studied Mandarin for the final year of school and only as a 'crash' Nat 5 (GCSE level). The scholarship was open to all Scots 6th year pupils who had studied some basic Mandarin, it funded by the Scottish and Chinese Governments. I believe there is an English equivalent.

We are managing to video call at the weekends, the timing makes it too difficult during the week as China is 7 hours ahead so I come in from work she's probably sleeping. I don't plan to visit as I hate flying but they get a 2 month break for Chinese New Year in Jan/Feb so I'm planning to fly her home for 3 weeks of it. Her and some of the other students are also planning to hit Tokyo Disney and Shanghai Disney, in fact she's planning to celebrate her 18th birthday at Tokyo Disney.

As for the future, I don't know. She hadn't previously planned to study Mandarin at Uni and actually had a place to study International Relations at Edinburgh this year but declined it when she got the Scholarship offer. She now plans to apply to study music at the Conservatoire and also apply to study Mandarin (and another MFL) at Uni as a back-up.

Many of the previous scholarship students have gone on to study Mandarin and several of them have had summer jobs as staff in the British Consulates in China - lots of great opportunities!

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