15 February 2012
Today I semi-retire. From motherhood. It is the first day of the rest of my baby’s life. My vocation will never be over. The hours may be less and I may be required at fewer meetings but like a doctor or a comedian, I will never switch off.
My career began twenty nine years ago. Instinctively, I chose a mate exhibiting favourable genes, set up home and procreated. A long term career goal had been achieved; two baby girls within two and a half years of each other.
Fast forward two decades.
With one already deposited offshore for five months on a university exchange, and the other poised to begin her tertiary education in another city, our nest now lays vacant.
I watched a wildlife documentary recently depicting arctic birds actually leaving their nests for the first time. There were no practices. Once they exited from their high rise apartments they had one way down. Their parents did fly alongside them but couldn’t fly for them. Some chicks managed to adopt the concept of flight seconds before impact, other didn’t. Those that survived the crash were then often carried off to their imminent deaths by opportunist wolves. There is a lesson to be learned from the natural world here I am sure. Watch out for wolves or never leave home, it’s too dangerous.
Friends and family comment, “It will be so quiet without them and won’t you miss them terribly?”
Granted, it will be silent, can’t see any negatives in the resulting serenity. As for missing them, what will I miss? Miss having to wrestle for the sky remote, miss watching repeats of Jersey Shore, miss multitudes of teenagers grouping with intent, miss having to grocery shop everyday, miss sneaking around your home until midday as not to wake the sleeping cherubs and miss being woken by explanatory texts in the wee hours and with odd request for a taxi? I think not.
Let’s face it, offspring aren’t the most altruistic individuals. If I was to liken them to a disease, I would choose eczema, flaky, irritating and untidy on the surface but harmless. Comes and goes under stress. If I was to liken them to anatomy, I would call them blood. Vital for life, a constant flowing through every corner of your body. You can do without the odd pint but you are never truly your best without your full quota.
It is the end of an era. The candidates have undergone rigorous training as part of the ultimate succession plan and my exit strategy is in place. I shall join Rob Fyfe on the benches of self imposed retirement until my next gig ‘turns up’. The university holidays, I imagine. I think I may contract out myself for that job. Same job, better conditions.
With wolf detection kits packed amongst all 46kgs of baggage we will embark on our drop off today. I have been afforded a forty eight hour window of transition before I return home on an air ticket for one.