It is always strange when one of the follies are missing as the dynamics among those left behind changes and there is a slight shifting of position. The absence of folly 3 left folly 2 without a fighting mate so she moved to form a closer bond with folly 1 resulting in lots of sharing and conspiring between the two of them. Folly 4 turned her attention away from the family and sought out friends from school who came back home for tea or were telephoned to make plans and plots together.
I found my week simplified somewhat as there was only two school runs to co-ordinate rather than the usual three. There were several afterschool activities which could be forgotten and I didn't seem to be needed as referee quite as often. Things were quieter too and maybe our neighbours found that as well, for Folly 3 likes her music at volume. However, there was a spirit missing. There was no-one to join me in the kitchen early in the morning as I made the lunches, no-one as eager to pop out with the dog to give her a run on the field. There was no voice questioning my decisions and suggesting other ways I might have approached things. There was no-one challenging my parenting in her own particular way and forcing me to question my handling of situations.
At times I felt guilty for enjoying a simplified life or for forgetting to think about what Folly 3 might be up to at any given moment. Yet, now that she is home with her presents and tales of her exploits, I see my job more clearly. I parent in order to send my children out into the world. I need to be confident that I have done my best to equip them not simply to cope, but to participate and delve in, able to make appropriate choices and evaluate risks. I should not be continually thinking or worrying about my children for it is right that they and I should have our individual lives. I think back to my Montessori training and remember that our children are striving to be independent right from the beginnning. Though I have no control over this vast and rapidly changing world, I can control how I prepare the follies to take on the challenges they will meet when they leave my side. As they grow the follies will leave this home little by little until finally they have their own home and it is that they visit me. So just as I enjoy the fun and chaos I will enjoy the quietness too and not feel bad about my own independence.