Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Tonight I cried

I was on my email account half an hour ago when Older Daughter popped in for a chat.

OD has been at her new boarding school for a week now.  When we went to visit on Sunday, we bought her some provisions for snacks at the farmer's market - cheese and crackers, jam for House toast and some juices.

As I knew that supper was at 6pm and this was 6.15pm, I asked her why she was not at supper.  She avoided the question but I persisted.  In the end it turned out that she hadn't gone because she had nobody to go with :-(

She was a late entrant in the exams so has been squeezed into a house for 13-18 year old girls which does not generally take in new girls at 16,  unlike the sixth form boarding house.  Her two room mates are perfectly nice girls but I guess they didn't think of OD when they went for supper.  I wonder how often this has happened?

It takes a lot of face to go alone into a school canteen as a new girl and especially so when you are, as am I and OD, face blind - this means you cannot spot any tables of new friends to go and join.

I told OD to be brave and go eat but she said that she was happy having cheese in her room.  And toast.

This makes my heart ache for her.

I imagine her alone in her dormitory, eating a dry cracker whilst the rest of her House enjoy a slap up, raucous roast in the dining hall, sharing jokes and confidences.

I want to go and find OD, to hug her, and to make it all better   BUT she is 60 miles away and coping in her own way.  She seemed reasonably cheerful. Of course that simply serves to make me believe she is being brave for me and cry some more :-(    I am amazed that there is no kind of Buddy system for a new girl to ensure that she knows when/ where meals are and is generally invited to tag along.  I am certain that OD is not being deliberately left out.  She is the kind of girl that everybody likes.  It is closer to a benign neglect.  Probably the others drift off in ones and twos confident that they will meet their friends in the dining hall with not a thought to specifically "invite" the new girl.

All the same, this has made me cry more than when I left her 7 days ago and I hope it is not symptomatic of a more general isolation.

I am tempted to visit on Sunday (it is not an exeat weekend so would technically not be allowed) to check up on her.  It's tricky though as a day out on Sunday might have a completely counterproductive effect in terms of making friends in the boarding house.  Also Waif objects strongly.  She has been expecting full on attention once OD is away at boarding school and here I am mooning around, spending time on the internet helping with homework and talking of being away for another Sunday (Waif can, of course, come too if she wants).

I have to remember that OD is 16 and needs to be independent.  It's tough when your children start leaving home.  I am rethinking allowing Waif to board in 2 years time.


  1. Hi,
    I've never commented but I've been reading your blog for a while. Also, I'm not a Mum so feel free to completely ignore any advice I attempt to give! I have a very close relationship with my Mum and she's helped me to pull through some awful disordered years. Your daughters sound like amazing, beautiful, considerate and magnetic girls. There will be a period of adjustment for your older daughter but she will pull through - her light will shine through and the others will begin to see it! It must be horrible thinking of her while you're so far away (I started to feel a bit anxious and heartbreaky just reading your words) she will be fine - just like I was when I left home :)

  2. Thanks, I know you are right. She sounded a lot more cheerful today actually. She is helping out in a school for the handicapped on Thursday afternoons and I think that helps her be grateful for all her advantages and to look on the bright side.