We spend at least 18 years preparing our children for this moment...the moment when they spread their wings and fly.
Its our main job as parents - to prepare our children for the life they were born to lead. To do the best we can, to provide that solid foundation from which they can learn to fly, safely fall and then soar to great heights as all birds can.
There is a 13 year age gap between my children, so just as Tom was starting to test his wings, Daniel came along and I was right back into mummy nurturing mode! Even though I still had young Daniel when Tom left home, I cried buckets when he had gone - I missed him so much in those early days.
...and today, I have to do it all over again, when we take Daniel up to University for the first term of his four year course. I know, its only University, he'll be back every holidays, probably with mountains of washing...although part of flying preparations have included a crash course in 'how to use the washing machine'.
Being a parent is the most magical job in the whole world - it has to be really because its a pretty tough one at times. There are no manuals or guide books - we are winging it most of the time (no pun intended) and doing the best we can with the resources we have available.
I always said that as long as my children know that I Love them, then my job as a parent is done. I think they both know that anyway, but just in case:
Tom, Daniel, I Love you from the bottom of my heart. Whatever you face in life, know you never have to face it alone because I will always be there for you.