Friday, 18 September 2015

Diary of a Gap-Year Mother

by Miranda Worley

Early September

My eldest daughter finished school this summer.  From mid-June to mid-September she lived, almost nocturnally, working two jobs in a bar and in a restaurant, to earn enough money to fund her gap year plans.  I almost feel that I haven’t had any time with her since her A-level revision started in earnest earlier this year, and now I am losing her for a whole year.

Of course I’m not alone in sending my fledgling-adult-child off into the world, but, while most of my mates have spent the last few weeks buying toasters, trainers and duvet sets for their university-bound offspring, I am the reverse; my daughter has been reducing her possessions to the absolute minimum she needs for her travels.  Her strong medium-sized ruck sack, last used for her D of E expedition a few years ago now contains all her travel possessions.  We agreed that if she can’t run with it in her rucksack, she probably doesn’t need it. There have been several discussions about the packing list priorities, along the lines of her saying “I really want to take these wedge shoes for clubbing in Sydney…” and me saying “I think you haven’t got room for them, after you’ve packed all your waitressing work clothes and mosquito repellent.”

What are her plans?  

Well I don’t really know - I wasn’t initially invited to contribute my thoughts about this particular adventure.  She does have a university place for September 2016, so I hope she plans to return at some point before then.  As to her travels, I don’t give her points for communication, but I do give her credit for independence.  She and a mate she’s known since primary school have managed to apply for a grant from a charity for their gap year…(apparently volunteering with orphaned elephants merits funding).  So with this experienced booked in for February, they’ve decided to work in Australia for a bit first.  All I know is that by the time you’ve read this she will have flown my nest, leaving a big hole in our family.

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