Over the course of Friday, I noticed that gaps were beginning to appear around my house. First thing to go was the large television which was in daughter number two's bedroom/dogs' bedroom/daughter number one's bedroom. In its place was something so small that daughter number one will be wanting a telescope for Christmas. Either that or she can borrow the husband's new wonder-glasses for evening viewing.
Next to go were my towels. I had suggested that son number two take three towels of different colours so that he could work out a rota of which one needed to be in the wash at any particular time. But he is obviously far more discerning that I give him credit for. He insisted on having three towels which were all the same colour. Now I can see exactly where this is leading. No towel will be washed for three weeks. When they start standing up by themselves, he will put all three into the washing machine, forget about them for a few days and then put them through another wash cycle to make them smell less like mildew. At this point, he will probably shower, realising only too late that he has no towel. I imagine him dabbing at himself with swathes of toilet roll, only emerging from the bathroom an hour later looking like he's cut himself shaving in some very peculiar places. Never mind, he'll learn. As he keeps on telling me, this is no longer my problem.
He packed all his clothes away on Friday afternoon, and put them in his car with all the other stuff vital for a successful university life. Unfortunately, as the temperature dropped on Friday evening, it suddenly dawned on him that he had no jumper to wear as they were all in the suitcase. Just as well there was one of the mine to borrow. Our heating is not allowed on until at least the 1st of October. Even then, as the glorious 1st gallops over the horizon, the husband is still standing guard on the thermostat, and it's a brave person who pushes the dial above 20 degrees (centigrade, before you think I am married to Scrooge).
Son number two has decided to get all the essentials in today, and when he comes back next week (so soon?) he will take down some decorative items to titivate his hovel. Between today and Saturday, I will be boxing up all my treasures, and hiding them in the loft, just in case something takes his fancy. Mind you, I can't see him making a space on the one shelf in his room for my ceramic pigs or hurricane lamp so perhaps they are safe after all.
But the biggest gap will be the one which used to hold him, All 6'3" of him. Admittedly, he's ever so skinny so the gap is narrow, but I will miss the noise, mess and craziness which seems to hang around him wherever he is.
And the hugs. The heartfelt, all encompassing hugs.
That's what I'll miss most...