It hasn’t really hit me yet but I know it’s going to.
21 years ago I became a father to a wonderful son. 18 years ago I became a father to an incredible daughter.
My son left home a few years back but we see him regularly, he lives in Bristol which is only a 30 minute train ride from home.
This morning I drove my daughter and her best friend to the local train station and she set off on an 8 week Euro-rail adventure. After that she plans to go to Australia for…. a long time.
(Her mum is Australian and she has an Australian passport)
This morning I didn’t cry as her train pulled out of the station and I waved forlornly from the empty platform, like many men I seem to experience delayed emotional responses to such dramatic changes in life.
When my dad died it took me a couple of days before I suddenly burst into tears, when my mum died the tears arrived sooner but still a couple of hours after I held her hand as she took her last breath.
I am very well aware that my role as parent hasn’t ended but there’s no denying it, as I sit in an empty house things have really changed.
When the school bus rumbles past our house in the morning I don’t have to get in a panic and scream ‘you’ve missed the bus... again!’
I don’t have to go on holiday in the school holiday period, I don’t have to sort mountains of laundry or cook a very complicated meals for 4 consisting of one vegetarian, one gluten allergic and a mass of ‘I hate cabbage dad, you know that!’ complaints.
I am also in the position of suddenly having to communicate with my wife again, but communicate about topics other than our children. I don’t think I have anything to say!
So, this morning, when the first Formula E race was taking place in Beijing, my mind was elsewhere and I don’t feel guilty about that, I’ll watch the next one.
However, taking into account all the heartache, the happiness, the mess, the laughs, the sulks, rows, struggles and joy my family have brought me in the last 21 years, I feel like a very lucky old bloke.