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Saturday, March 16, 2019

How to Cure Empty Nest Syndrome

“So… I guess I’ll see you in 12 months,” I sniffed into my airport cappuccino, smiling courageously through a frothy moustache and fogged up glasses.

“Why do you keep saying twelve months, mother?” my only daughter replied, sipping her caramel latte and tossing her long blonde hair with nonchalance. “I plan on staying in London for at least two years.”

Oh, the cruelty that slips so easily from those twenty-two-year-old lips, I thought.

Then, suddenly, she was gone.

I gloomily watched the back of her head on the escalator descending towards the security stations and waited for her to turn back with a tear-filled face and final wave of farewell.


She was laughing and chatting… with her friend.

As we drove home from the airport, I sat in a dismal cloud of despair. It was a Sunday which made it ten times worse because let’s face it, Sunday afternoons are as depressing as dog shit anyway. Just knowing that all I have to look forward to is ironing next week's work clothes can throw me into dark paroxysms of misery even without motherhood abandonment issues thrown in as well.

“Is it too soon to call her?” I pestered Scotto.

“The plane’s probably taxiing for take-off, Pinky. Her phone will be turned off.”

I sobbed in empty-nest agony and rang my father instead.

The feelings of desolation evaporated somewhat during the week.

My friend and colleague, Catherine-Mary, also had a son who was about to fly off to South America on a non-return ticket, so we commiserated.

"At least Lulu isn’t going to live in a country with soaring crime rates, over-zealous bandits and murderous mosquitoes that carry a disease causing women to have babies with extra small heads, like your son is!" I cheerily said to Catherine-Mary in order to reassure myself.

Besides, I had a plan.

I was going to London.


I’d go in September. A mere 6 months away! I could bear to wait six months to see my daughter again, couldn’t I?

Scotto and I, headed down the mountain to the closest travel agency the following Saturday to book airline tickets. I was on a mission and NOTHING could stop me.

As we scurried into the shopping mall in search of Flight Centre, something unusual caught my eye.

It was a pet shop.

In the window of the pet shop squirmed a litter of brown, mouse-like creatures.

Oxytocin oozed through my arteries like a snake. My womb ached. I almost lactated.

I dragged Scotto through the door.

“How much are those mouse-like creatures in the window?” I officiously queried of the pet shop person.

“Are you referring to the miniature dash-hounds?” she blinked.

“No, I'm referring to the miniature DACHSHUNDS,” I corrected.

“They’re 580 million dollars,” she replied, sniffing indifferently at the rude woman.

I hesitated. “Each?” I managed to ask in a falsetto, choked up voice.

She nodded wisely (quite wisely actually for someone who works in a pet shop and still doesn’t know how to pronounce ‘dachshund’).

“Oh,” I said, swallowing a piece of my tongue which I’d bitten off in shock. “Well, we can’t afford that because we have to buy plane tickets to go to London to see my daughter. Thanks anyway. Bye.”

Even I, am not stupid enough to pay that much for a dog. 

Besides, we were going to be overseas in London for three weeks in September and I couldn’t leave a puppy that young in the kennels, could I?

After we’d walked a dozen paces, I suddenly stopped, struck with the most brilliant, dazzlingly clever idea I’ve ever had in my life.

“Scotto!” I shouted in divine enlightenment. “Why don’t we go to London in December and have a white Christmas instead of going in September? Lulu will be more settled in then. She won’t be wanting her boring old mother rocking up to London as early as September, will she? I wouldn't want to be a helicopter mother! ” 

...    ...     ...      ...      ...      ...       ....        ...      ...        ...

The plane tickets turned out to cost much more in December than September… but that’s okay. And I like freezing cold weather. It's bracing and stimulating. Good for the pores.

And of course, Polly Pocket will be 11 months old in December so she’ll be fine to go in the boarding kennels by then.