Lots to celebrate, a little Lindy Hop, and a one way ticket to Sydney!
Ah, where to start with my bittersweet week? A week I had been both looking forward to with excitement and anticipation but absolutely dreading at the same time.
First thing to get a little giddy about was my son Mitch's graduation. Such a turning point in a young person’s life, and the only time ever I think that his next steps were not planned. Exciting yet uncertain times ahead. We had a wonderful day… lots of laughs, lots of clapping, and lots of Prosecco! I must admit there were a few tears too, mainly of joy and happiness but also at the thought of him moving back home and making the place untidy… joke Mitch! Seriously though, I was so proud of ma boy I could have burst! All pretty sweet so far.
And so onto the next celebration... my birthday. To kick things off, my hubby Neil and I spent my birthday eve at our very first Lindy Hop social dance, held inside Leeds’ magnificent Corn Exchange. We’re relative newbies to all this dancing malarkey, and to be honest had started to get a little nervous about the whole thing. However having had a few lessons now, we decided we were confident enough to get out there and give it a whirl in public! All I can say is things didn’t quite go to plan – our minds went completely blank and we forgot all our moves (everything was going so sweetly until this slightly bitter moment!) However, not to be defeated we danced on, and with a little encouragement and a reminder of a few steps from our dance instructor, by the end of the evening we had managed to Lindy Hop through a whole song, standing on one another’s toes only once or twice! We had a great evening, but when my head hit the pillow that night it was spinning with thoughts of what tomorrow had in store.
This was certainly a week of mixed emotion for me, and today was a day that would truly test my ability to hold it all together. I woke up that morning (the day of my forty eighth birthday) with a nauseating mix of excitement and apprehension… and it wasn’t just the thought of hurtling towards the big five ‘0’ that was making my stomach churn. You see, as well as celebrating my birthday, I was also preparing myself for the fact that after today, I didn't know when I would see my lovely daughter again… she had a one way ticket to Aus, and a new exciting adventure was on the horizon for her.
And this is where the real bittersweet comes in. Yes, we were saying goodbye and wouldn’t see Elissa for an awful long time, but (thinking with my glass half full head on) this was also the first time in ages all her friends had been round at the house together, having drinks and chatting – I’ve known some of them since they were young girls but haven’t seen them for years. It was heart-warming to see them all chatting and laughing as they wished Elissa all the luck in the world. Yes, I love my daughter with all my heart and I will miss her, but I’m so proud of the brave, adventurous and ambitious young woman she has become. Yes, a part of me is screaming don’t go… who’s going to look after you and remind you to re-apply your sun block, but I know she doesn’t need looking after… she’s smart, strong and independent. There's also the fact that this gives me the perfect excuse to splash out on a holiday of a lifetime next summer... best get saving!
It's a few weeks on now from that surreal moment in Manchester Airport departure lounge, and Elissa is having a fabulous time... overnight stay at Sydney Zoo, cocktails at the Opera House and most recently Insta pics of Bondi Beach! Surprisingly, I've been okay too - although I am beginning to question what sort of mother I am... I haven’t shed a tear since she went, not even whilst waving goodbye at the airport. I feel almost guilty at times that I'm fine she's a million miles away and I might not see her for up to a year or two, and who knows, maybe the reality of it all will kick in at a later date. But, at least for now, I’m 100 per cent excited for her and as proud as proud could be.
So, as I sit here writing this post, some time on from my bittersweet week and sipping a glass of merlot, I consider myself blessed. On reflection, I realise I may at times feel a little apprehensive at the uncertainty of Mitch’s next steps in life, I may feel frustration at my apparent inability to master a few basic Lindy Hop steps (especially in public), and I may find myself pining for Elissa once it dawns on me she hasn’t just gone on a nice long holiday.
However, when I think of my bittersweet week, and of Mitch in his mortar board and gown, when I remember what fun Neil and I had forgetting our Lindy Hop steps, and when I close my eyes and see my beautiful daughter striding confidently through departures, with her world in a suitcase and bound for Sydney, I realise that the sweet far outweighs the bitter, and all I can do is smile contently to myself… how could I not?!!