I am preparing a big family lunch, a get together following the adventures our two eldest children have had. We have an enormous roast chicken, crispy golden skin hiding the succulent meat steaming below, home made sage, onion and sausage meat stuffing, a crunchy top and lusciously smooth beneath, Chipolatas, golden crispy yet fluffy roast potatoes, ginormous Yorkshire puddings with beautiful dips in to fill with gravy and broccoli, carrots and green beans as sides. Yesterday I made Favourite desserts, summer pudding, using the raspberries growing in our garden and Nutella cheesecake, my mum is bringing my husband's favourite apple cake over with her. All this requested by child 2 as he has just returned from NYC. There has been lots of adventure in the Five Go On An Adventure household the last couple of weeks.
Child 1 has had an amazing week working with an anti slavery charity in London. She stayed with my brother in North London, travelling daily by tube from his home to her work experience placement, a huge adventure for a country girl. She has returned home, rather reluctantly, full of everything she has learned and the amazing people she has met. She was lucky enough to attend an event in Canary Wharf which was discussing a report created by Sisters of Change about slavery in the garment trade, which has probably changed her outlook about the clothes she will buy from now on. Child 1 is planning more work experience maybe with Amnesty International or Sisters for Change, she has returned home as a much more confident young lady, one who is willing to ask for an opportunity to do something, to not worry about rejection, to just go for it.
Child 2 left in the early hours last Sunday morning for his drama trip to New York City, a jolly really but one full of exciting places to see, World Trade Centre, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, cycling in Central Park, rememberance at Ground Zero, Wicked on Broadway and then all the amazing food, bagels, pancakes, burgers, Po Boys, hot dogs and ice cream. After an adventure first thing - arriving at the meeting point at 3am to find that the coach had not arrived. A car pool of parents saved the day driving the children the 200 miles to Heathrow to catch their plane. He has returned home exhausted but full of exciting tales of the places he visited, the food he ate and the people he saw.
I love these family get togethers, the ones where my children are at home and can share their adventures with their grandparents and aunt. This time though, I feel a little sorrow, nostalgia for the days when they were all little. You see as I peel the vegetables, I have just realised that my two eldest in particular child 1 are getting ready to fly the nest, child 1 is planning her gap year travels, following her A levels next year, to Europe, to visit all the galleries and museums she can during a month of inter railing then onto India, Far East Asia and beyond. She is visiting University's in London, Edinburgh and Sussex where she hopes to study history and politics. Soon she will be creating her own home and returning to us just to visit. Don't get me wrong, I know it's what should happen and I am beyond proud. Parenting is ensuring that our beloved children grow into the people they are meant to be. Adults full of compassion, love, a desire to learn and an ability to find contentment. But ...............