Gap Year for Mums

March 21, 2014

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

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My Youngest Son (YS) has been on a Gap Year since last July which has been a huge adjustment for OH and I as he is the youngest of four and so we are used to a noisy, buzzing household. However the last 4 months or so our house has been very quiet as our youngest two, who still live at home, have been abroad. However with their piles of dirty washing, huge appetites, endless friends, discarded shoes at the back door, loud bass music, banal but sometimes humorous banter and endless Snapchats to their friends, they have returned and our peace has been shattered.

My cleaner who only comes twice a week, has a face like a long drink of water as the workload has increased ten-fold and her humour, which has always been in short supply, is now non-existent. But it is not for long as YS is only briefly touching down in the UK before he disappears off to South America for 2 months of travelling. I have no idea why I have washed and ironed his clothes as in 8 days time they will be scrunched into the bottom of an extremely smelly rucksack which, if it could talk, would tell so many disreputable tales about my children as it has been on endless outings to festivals, travels abroad, and drink fuelled parties, with all of them.

Anyway YS will be go off travelling too quickly and I will be moping around the house longing for a pile of size 10 trainers at the back door to fall over. His inability to navigate his way to his grandmother requiring at least four phone calls to check the route, the fact that he went to the wrong train station this afternoon to pick up his friend does leave me worrying about his trip to Argentina, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. We had to get a new passport for him as Bolivia requires one year and he would have only had 11 months 3 weeks when he lands in La Paz so we had to have the fast track service at HM Passport Office which cost £128, followed by a series of injections and malaria tablets costing £379. Then there was the travel insurance which of course is a little higher than normal since he is travelling through some fairly tricky countries which will not always conform with his easy experience of life so far. However I have to let him go and apparently he will come back a more mature and worldly person which, after today’s debacle at the train station, is questionable!

It may be called a Gap Year for the young person who is between school and university but I can tell you that it is a Gap Year for the parents too but for different reasons, because our child’s departure leaves a huge gap in our lives or even a huge hole! I will try not to embarrass him with tears either at the departure gate next Saturday or at the arrivals one in July and will return home with a knot in my stomach and spend the next 3 months stalking him on Facebook to make sure he is alive and well!

P.S. Suddenly having to cook for starving teenagers again I had to resurrect some of my old family favourite recipes and Sticky Marmalade Chicken was one of their requests so I have put the recipe up on the site.

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