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Living Here To help: I've been so down since my kids left; ASK ANNA SHE'S THE ANSWER TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS.

QI'VE felt miserable ever since my youngest left to go to university three years ago but this Easter it came home to me just how depressed I've been when she came to visit.

Until now, I kept myself going by telling myself that at least she'd come back to live with us afterwards.

But over Easter she announced that, after she graduates this year, she plans staying put with her current flatmates and finding a job down there.

I'm afraid I made an exhibition of myself by bursting into tears. What shocked me more was my daughter's reaction.

At first, she gave me a hug but then she got angry. She told me to get myself a life and stop treating her like a little girl.

She calmed down before she went and she's since rung to say sorry for getting cross. I've devoted almost 30 years of my life to my kids.

Now I feel that the whole purpose of it has dried up.

VAL, Dorridge

A BUT it hasn't, has it Val? Your purpose was to equip your children to make their own way in the world.

As they grew up, it was also to inspire them to imitate your caring concern for their welfare with any children they may have in the future. Of course 30 years is a long time. It's probably half your present lifespan, maybe more. An abrupt lifestyle change is bound to be unsettling, even alarming - but you could have another 30 years of life. Longer, if you're lucky and healthy.

Are you really intent on spending it all trying, in vain, to re-live the past?

You mention 'us', so presumably you have a partner. Doesn't he now deserve a fairer share of the time, love and interest you heaped on your children?

It's time to move on, build up new interests and re-organise your life or else your children may panic that you're regressing into childish clinging, prompting them to back-off, just as your daughter did.

We all need to feel needed, but no-one feels comfortable with being possessed.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:May 4, 2003
Previous Article:Living In The garden: SHOW TIME; Don't miss one of the year's top events.

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