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  • The time came for me and my daughter Madeleine to visit three universities, and decide which program would best suit her.

    She was keen to be a marine biologist; since she saw dolphins swim around and ahead of her uncle's ship in Mexico.

    We had fun travelling around Britain, from Cornwall up to Bangor in Wales, staying overnight in cheap student accommodation; whilst my husband cared for our other two children at home.

    She chose Bangor University. Then the time came for her to leave home and travel, she insisted, on her own to Wales and out of our home until Christmas.

    We all accompanied her to the railway station helping with her backpack and giving her last minute snacks. She got in the train and leaned out of the window to say goodbye. And then it sunk in. My child who was born when I was only twenty years old, my sweet daughter was leaving me, perhaps for good.

    I strode away from the train to the end of the platform and sulked like a six year old child. I could not deal with my turbulent feelings. "Come on," yelled Jacques, "the train's going to start soon."

    Choking back my tears I ran back, blew her kisses and yelled, "phone me up at least once a week won't you?"

    "Of course Mummy" she yelled back and then was taken on her way to adulthood.

    And, yes, she did phone me at least twice a week, even though she had to queue up for the public phone; this was pre mobile/cell phones of course.

    Her time away from home gave me a chance to spend more quality time with my other daughter, Samantha, who would also go to university three years later.

    The feeling of being torn apart when my first baby left home, I know is shared by most parents. I know we have to let them fly, but it is hard.
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