Flying The Nest … Almost …

teenagerThe Teenager is off to the Reading Music Festival.

He left with a huge amount of stuff a couple of hours ago. Early tickets.

If I read those sentences again, I sound almost casual.

Believe me, I’m not.

After 17 years (he only turned 17 last Sunday), he will be without anyone looking after him for 5 nights. Five whole days and nights. Oh, the possibilities.

The planning has been months in the making: the gear – tent, groundsheet, sleeping bag, super-duper mobile charger. I shelled out for a locker. Plus part-payment towards a gazebo when he’s there. The wellies, the thick socks. The sun cream.

Last night, he asked me if I could pack his bag if he put everything he was taking on my bed. Yeah, no worries. I’m the master of packing.

I got upstairs and surveyed the room-full of stuff to fit into a tiny bag. Out went the white t-shirts (really?), the jeans, the fourth pair of shorts, the shower gel, the toothpaste. I jumped on the bag and closed it. The wellies were non-negotiable.

In work yesterday I had a text;

‘Urgent, need funds for haircut’

‘You got your hair cut last week?’

‘Not Reading-fresh? Please?’

So, he had his hair razored. With a bit at the front, strangely reminiscent to those 80’s Aha haircuts? Anyway, we ran through the Parental Lecture. It started easily enough,

‘… son, Chris …’

‘Mum, I know what you’re going to say, and I, like, take it on board.’

‘… but …’

‘No, it’s fine …’

‘… but …’


‘Can I just say  it?’

‘Mum. I know. No drugs, no women. Got it.’

‘Women? Who said anything about women?’

Anyway, he got the bus to town earlier and met up with nineteen other friends who will be sharing the gazebo.

I had a think, after taking some deep breaths. I should be proud? I should marvel at his desire to be unwashed and dazed for five nights. To worry that someone will steal his groundsheet?

I can’t talk. Shortly after turning sixteen, I took my backpack and tramped around Norway, The Shetlands and The Orkney Islands for six weeks. Without nineteen friends. All on my own.

And I came back almost unscathed.

Maybe I should just text him, see if he’s eating properly?

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10 thoughts on “Flying The Nest … Almost …

  1. … and don’t forget to ask if he cleaned his teeth each morning!:-)

  2. Toni says:

    Lol, no women!. I nearly spat out my morning coffee reading that!. And, a happy belated 17th birthday to the teenager!. He does sound like a good kid, and you must be v proud of yourself to raise such a good kid in, what, very unpredictable circumstances!.

    I reckon he will be fine and have such a good time…and it’s true. If we cast our minds way back to the teenagers age, we thought we were so independent and grown up, we did what we did (within reason)!, experienced life, and survived!…I have a feeling tho, he may be text messaging you, just as much. Enjoy the time off, and relax. :).x

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Totally agree!
      He is a great kid and I’m really proud of how he’s handled everything these last few years. Maybe he deserves to have a blast with his friends!
      Very nice though to be going back from work later to a clean house, lol.

  3. Jenny says:

    Oh, this made me laugh so much. I know just how you feel as I also have a 17 year old son on his way out of the nest! I’m trying to be a cool unworried mum but I’m not sure I’m pulling it off!
    Teenager will be fine and have a blast. Your washing machine, however, may need when he comes back.and empties his bag! X

    • stumbling in flats says:

      You know, I thought about that yesterday – dreading the state he and his clothes come back in!!
      The peace is amazing though 🙂

  4. RachelW says:

    fellow MSer here. I’m going to Reading festival on Sunday – just for the day and taking my kids (8yo and 5yo – am i mad?! maybe, but it’ll certainly be an experience for all concerned!) and have dug out our old buggy so i have something to lean on and i don’t have to carry all the things all day!
    I’m sure he will have an amazing time – i was a few weeks shy of 16 when i went first time – but that was, as my kids say, in “the olden days” – don’t make me count!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Wow! Have a brilliant time!! I’m in awe of you – I have never really done festivals. Too scared 😉
      Teenager has sent one text saying he’s fine. I’m sure he’s going to come home after five nights a slightly different person and I’m looking forward to seeing the change in him. Apart from anything else, he’s really into his music so is living the dream right now!

      • RachelW says:

        Well i hope he had a brilliant time – we defnintely did! Turns out anything and everything is possible! (with lots of planning!) The buggy was a lifesaver – the real key to the day, there was either a child or a rucksack full of snacks and water in it. We didn’t stay til the very end – but that meant i got the kids out while it was relatively quiet and we got the bus back to the station, where i’d parked. My other half was there with his 15yo – they stayed til the end so the last bit was all me. I feel quite proud to have managed it 🙂
        Couldn’t have asked for anything to go better though 🙂 Mud might have made it trickier (i did very little Saturday to store up some spoons and then luckily the kids were with their dad on Monday so i did precisely nothing, other than recover in the hammock in the garden watching Reading highlights on iPlayer!)
        It’s a LOT better there than when i last went (pre kids). I was amazed that on Sunday there were clean toilets WITH LOO ROLL! And we saw no trouble, it wasn’t as busy as i was expecting and we weren’t miles away from the stage. In fact people were rather lovely to us for having the kids there! Got ushered straight through security and everything!
        I waste no time – whilst we totally plan to go again, who knows what new and exciting symptoms i’ll have this time next year! x

        • stumbling in flats says:

          Sounds absolutely amazing!!
          He came back yesterday totally bouncing off the walls with excitement. He had a fantastic time and is already about to buy his ticket for next year.
          He watched all the bands he wanted to, ate a lot of junk food and even managed a shower of two. I bought him a locker which gave him peace of mind.
          He said he didn’t need his wellies at all, which was lucky!
          The only weird thing to happen was that someone came and trashed all their chairs when they were somewhere else – they’d rented a gazebo and had all their camping chairs under it. At least their tents weren’t burnt down – I heard that happened one year!
          I’m very envious that you managed the whole thing so perfectly, fair play to you!

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