Writing exclusively for HELLO! Ulrika Jonsson on her pride and heartache at daughter Bo flying the nest to become a Norland nanny.
Summer is starting to draw to a close and change, trepidation and anticipation hangs heavy in the air. It's time for children up and down the country to return to school; for some to start a new one, but for others, perhaps most significantly of all, it's time to leave home and head for university.
As it happens, it's a double whammy for me this year as my youngest, Malcolm, 11, faces the daunting task of starting secondary school – but it's definitely the fact that my daughter Bo, 18, is leaving home that is the cause of the most unbearable heartache.
Bo is heading off to the prestigious Norland College in Bath to train for three years as a nanny extraordinaire, studying for a BA (Hons) in early years development and learning and a Norland Diploma.
It's a unique educational establishment – internationally renowned – and unrivalled for turning out the crème de la crème of nannies, not just for the rich and famous and royalty (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge employ a Norland nanny) but also for parents who want a nanny – male or female – with the most extensive and comprehensive training anywhere in the world.
More in this week's issue: Ola and James Jordan announce their pregnancy joy after three-year fertility struggle
To work with children has been Bo's dream for many, many years; to train as a Norlander has been her ambition for the past four. It's fair to say she's been a consistently maternal little creature of nurture and caring since her younger sister Martha was born 15 years ago. There has been no discussion – not even the floating of an idea or the merest suggestion – of her pursuing any other career. She was born for this role.
She was also born with a congenital heart condition (double inlet left ventricle) nearly 19 years ago and it is this which makes her departure from home so utterly disconcerting. The first years of her life were terrifying and volatile. Together, we walked a tightrope between life and death as she endured one closed- and two open-heart surgeries by the time she was three. As a mother, I carried the knowledge, fear and terror in my head that no matter how brilliant the advancement of medicine, no one knew how long she might live. Or even if.
To read the full emotional column, pick up this week's issue, out now.