So here I am, surgically attached to my phone, so as not to miss a single call or text - while my eldest daughter is at school half way across the world. It seems odd to say the least.
How did we get here? Well, the truth is, there was quite a lot of thought and consideration that went into our decision. We've been agonizing over this for blooming years. I am beginning to find it difficult to respond to daily question from others who ask why we decided to send our daughter away to school. I fumble and stumble - to be honest, it's not really clear cut.
The drop off that I was dreading went surprisingly smoothly. We unpacked with a lump in our throat and then my daughter said to my husband;
"Shouldn't you be going now?" She asked.
No tears. She was very brave and fingers crossed - seems to be doing fine (we talk or text everyday). Snatched conversations always;
"I'm off bowling - rushing to an English lesson - where's my yellow book, I hurt my toe in hockey."
My eldest and I spent a summer holiday that was beautifully summed up by a friend of mine with a similarly blossoming teenage daughter of the same age - bouts of "furious shouting followed by loving hugs."
I had a wobbly on the plane back to Nairobi from Heathrow - exacerbated by the fact that my husband had tipped a full cup of cold water over my lap at the beginning of the flight.
"Why are we leaving her there? Will she be okay? Are we mad? How long will we have to do this for?" I said tearfully.
The house is a lot quieter and to be brutally honest (and this is something that some parents may not like to admit) - it is easier too, more manageable. A respite from hellish nagging over homework and revision, egos clashing, little stresses that descend into mega dramas. Work/family balance is easier to manage - there are fewer groceries to buy - no more long teenage showers using up all of the (hot) water. We still have 2 children at home, but without our eldest there are fewer laughs, less chaos and less life. Frankly, there's a big empty space. It has been 4 days and counting......