Watching your children grow up and then leave home…

Last weekend we took our daughter to university – an exciting and emotional moment in our lives.  Watching her become the person she is over the last 18 years has been the greatest joy and privilege; a wonderful experience. She’s an amazing person;  we’re immensely proud of her  – and we’re going to miss her.  At the same time, we’re so excited for her as her journey into the world of medicine begins; a brilliant doctor in the making (assuming she does all the work!). If the texts from her first week are anything to go by, she’ll be taking up every opportunity and making the most of student life.  It all sounds so exciting, you want to go and do it all with her. But this is her time… she’s off into the world by herself.

Watching your kids grow up is such an amazing process…they change, we change, we share life together in our little family unit.. and every so often we stop to think how lucky we are to have each other.  You do all you can to prepare them for adulthood – to have the confidence to follow their passions and be the people they want to be – and then, finally, the moment arrives.  It’s flown by….

Our kids have always had each other too. They’ve lived in each other’s pockets, a wonderful team,  always making each other laugh and enjoying our family adventures, with just the normal balance of sibling love and tension that helps them be the people they are…

Being my daughter’s Dad (and my son’s)  is most certainly my greatest contribution to the world. There’s nothing in life as rewarding, quite as profound as being the parent of such lovely, independent people with strong ideas about life, the universe and everything. Even if they do find you embarrassing and annoying from time to time … that’s part of the deal!

I think we’ve done a good job. The trials of GCSEs and A levels are over, she made it through all the hoops and now she’s off.  She’s ready. The world’s at her feet…

Thankfully there will still be holidays.  We have fond memories of all the great adventures we’ve shared together over the years. We’re hoping to have quite a few more – while she still wants to come with us!

It will just take a while to get used to that empty room…



  1. Tom, one reason why you’re a great headteacher is because, as this post shows, you’re a great dad! I can totally understand where you’re coming from. My eldest has just started Year 3 Medicine. It’s lovely seeing her turn into a confident, young woman. All we can do is wish them success as they make a place for themselves in the world and let them know that we will always be there for them, no matter what.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The empty room? Well, we had two, and was such a shame to leave them empty during term time……..there was a mad rush to move all that stuff which had accumulated in them during term time so they could use them again during the holidays!

    You are right, of course, being parents is a great responsibility and a great joy, too. Parents are authors of a living story that doesn’t end when the kids leave the nest. Although we had to wait seven years, along came the grandchildren. And what a delight they are!!! A different role (grandparents), but still full of responsibility (less well defined) and a great joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A lovely read. Thank You. I am taking my daughter to uni next week. over 300 miles away! It feels less daunting as 3 years ago I took my son even further to Edinburgh – its a poignant moment as you drive away, but a happy one,
    knowing they have the skills and the heart to start their own futures for themselves. I’m sure your daughter will be very happy.


  4. I stumbled across this beautifully understated and thoughtful post and it was really touching. Thank you. We are four years away from this moment happening in our family for the first time and yet I am very conscious it is coming. I remember being on the other end of it when my Dad, who was pretty good at keeping his emotions in line and his cards to his chest, looked at me with tears in his eyes and said ‘you’re not just going to America, you’re leaving home…’ and I hadn’t realised it myself. It’s amazing how much more difficult, special and complicated the world becomes with age. Greater Depth living, I suppose…! Lovely photos as well. Many good wishes to you both, your daughter and your son.


  5. Tom, thank you for the post I should have written when both of mine flew the nest. As a headteacher of twenty years I know they tolerated my obsession with work better than I gave them credit for. They are now successful in their chosen fields, fiercely independent and wonderful parents to my five grandchildren, who give me the great fun all over again that I had when my two were small.
    Keep up the great work, especially on the grammar school debate.

    Liked by 1 person

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