It’s been three hundred and sixty days since she left. Now there are only two to go and I can barely concentrate on anything, unless it is related to her.
Her bedroom has been completely gutted, cleaned and put back together. The vast shopping list is written, containing all the foods she has missed, like blueberries and strawberries, cheese and chocolate spread. Car cleaned inside and out (more so she can see the standard she must maintain). Insurance restarted (although she owes me) and the rest of the house is in the process of a thorough spring clean and sort out. It feels like I am in the final weeks of pregnancy. This need to nest is all consuming.
A year away from home is a long time. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure how I would get through it. I measured my progress by events that I had reached.
The start of school in September.
A weekend away with the girls in October.
My husband’s birthday in November.
Christmas in Blackpool (where I got horrendously drunk).
Reaching the halfway point in February,
and then the countdown to our visit in March, which left us with mixed emotions – utter joy at seeing her well and happy, but heartbreak at leaving her behind.
The final four months have been the longest, and the nearer her return gets the slower the time seems to move and the more I worry something will go wrong…
Bus crashes, flight hi-jacks, dengue fever, kidnapping at gunpoint – you name it, I’ve obsessed about it.
Before she left, she said to me as only an eighteen year old can:
Mumma, I want you to know, if I die when I am out there, I will have been happy and fulfilled.
Just don’t die on me, please, OK? I said, and have done at every opportunity since.
I know she will be apprehensive about coming home (as well as excited). She has changed and so have the rest of us. A year is an especially long time when you are eighteen. There will be a period of adjustment. I am sure it will be stormy at times. She left home a child and is returning an adult.
But right now all I care about is that she gets here.
So for one more time, my darling daughter, please, please don’t die on me. OK?