Sunday, 2 March 2014

Taking advantage of yesterday's clear skies, we went for a walk, first through the Hampstead Heath Extension and then across a road somewhere up near the top by White Stone Pond. That's when I found myself thinking: It's happening again – I'm somewhere I've never been before and I truly thought I knew this area inside out. We'd come to Hill House and while I still haven't found out exactly what it is these days, I have learned that it started life as a private home - though a private home big enough to house an institution. The garden walkways are open to the public and they're rather picturesque. In fact, there seemed to be a fashion photo shoot going on, so I'm obviously not the only one who thinks so.

There were also one or two signs of spring: a tree sprouting blossom, a bush with camouflaged green flowers (see below), and the sun actually felt warm when it was out. To anyone who doesn't live in a climate that so meanly doles out light and good weather, this must all seem very repetitive, but it's astonishing what a big impact it has on mood and general joie de vivre when you don't routinely have it.

On other fronts, son has announced he plans to move out next month. There will be financial upsides to this: no more buying enough food to keep a young man fueled, he can be taken off the car insurance, the household bills will go down as he has been home a lot before getting his job, I expect I'll be filling up the car less and, as for personal energy, there will be fewer dishes to pick up and less dirt in general to clean away. Plus - and until you've experienced it's opposite, it's hard to impress how satisfying it can be - when I come home at the end of the day, the place will look like it did when I left it in the morning. But even for all this, the truth is, I will miss him terribly. It has been a wonderful treat to get to know him as a fellow adult and human being, and hugely warming from the inside out to find myself discovering over and over again how much I like him - which is a very different thing from simply loving him because he's my son. He's a wonderful listener, and gives considered answers and opinions; his heart is very much in the right place when it comes to kindness, and he has been fantastic company. I know I'm only saying all the things every mother has probably ever said about her child when they stretch their wings and start to fly, and knowing others have traveled this road is a comfort - but that doesn't stop it from being a big life event.

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