Self-sacrifice: I missed my firstborn after depositing her in the Friday darkness with her sleeping bag and hold-all of Hollister tops. Her empty bed pained me in the mornings and I had, forlornly, to sing solo along to Adele songs on Youtube without her at my side.
Patience: as I listened with beaming attentiveness to a half-hour, high-speed account of who fancied whom on campus while, armed with a Post-it note of scrawled directions, I wrestled the A10 into submission.
Courage: as I squared up to the damp, muddy menace that was her dirty laundry bag.
Forbearance: as, all evening, I withstood the howls and recriminations of an adventurer who had achieved one hour's sleep the previous night.
Devotion: as, come the release of bedtime, she begged to me climb under the duvet with her for a half hour cuddle and my sassy tweenager became a little girl who had missed her mummy.
How have your childrens' absences improved you?