Thursday, February 18, 2010


After 4 years of talking about it, our daughter has found a flat and is moving out. We haven’t been nagging her to go, just gently nudging from time to time and now all the planets have lined up to make it possible. She’s about to start an honours year at Uni, she has a part time job and well, what’s a bit more borrowing from Studylink to buy your soymilk anyway?

I’m looking forward to having a spare room at long last- when her clothes have made it off the floor and the last of her shoes and study folders have found their way into boxes, ready for moving into her new abode. We will no longer open her door just wide enough to throw her possessions into, shaking our heads at the chaos within. Her cat will be distraught- he’s staying here and loves the garment nests in her room. We expect lots of piteous mewing and any staying guests will probably get a moggy for the night thrown in, unless they lock the door very securely.

In a way I can’t believe the day has finally come. One minute I was on the netball courts doing mother duty on freezing Saturday mornings, and the next, helping her find banana boxes to pack her life into. I wrote this poem for Next magazine when contemplating her entry into teenage hood. Now where did that decade go?

My Girl

My daughter is as tall as me;
With platforms on she's bigger.
She borrows all my favourite shoes
And has a better figure.

I know that in a year’s time,
She'll look down her teenage nose,
At me, her fogie mother,
And rubbish all my clothes.

Then when she's finished uni,
With her massive student loan,
She'll take off for the big wide world
And leave her cat at home.

And I'll remember, smiling,
Her preschool birthday parties,
Fairy dress and tinsel crowns
And chocolate cake with Smarties.

I'll stroke her ancient moggy,
And we'll purr nostalgically,
For the breakfasts made on Mother’s Day;
Burnt toast and luke warm tea.

Then the tears will spring unchecked
And we'll give a desperate moan,
Because, whilst she has flown the nest,
Her brother's never leaving home!

Footnote- her brother has just read this and said ‘I’m finding a flat as soon as my student allowance comes in so you can stop going on about it okay?’ … the cat will be suicidal.


Maureen said...

Wow you knew she wouldn't take the cat a decade ago????
thinking of you at this readjusting time...coz it's looming up fast in this house as well. Husband definitely panicking about our eldest growing up and she still has a year of school to go...

TK Roxborogh said...

I can't wait for the rooms (and mess to clear) but as ours is going to Uni here in Dunners, we're stuck with her until she's finished her degree (she's worked out life is cheap and sweet at home).

I remember reading that poem, Fifi! I loved your Next poems!

Penny said...

Yep, it's a common old theme - our daughter's just starting Uni this year too, but like Tania's, she's staying at home, so the mess will stay for a bit longer and I still won't have a spare room. She did have a part-time job though - until last night when she was called in for a staff meeting and they were all told that the shop was closing down, effective immediately. Damn. There goes her phone/bus/going out money. First priority for her today is to go round the mall dropping off her cv and hoping for another job. Welcome to the School of Life, darling x

Fifi Colston said...

see the thing is, she's finished her degree and started on an honours year, so at 22 its probably about time!

Nicola Hoogenboom said...

It won't be long before she does the unforgivable and leaves Wellington altogether...

...I remember when she was just a young thing... So well behaved and tidy, it had to happen eventually, right?

But anyway, I am showing that poem to my step mother, my little sister has recently turned 14!