If you've read my book Please eat..., you will know that, last September, Ben attempted university, but was back home within days on an impromptu gap year. Initially we weren't sure whether or not he'd choose to take a second gap year, but yesterday he made the final decision that - yes - he's going to university this September. And this time it's going to work out OK.
This time I'm taking a back seat deliberately. I've been letting him make all his own arrangements. This way he becomes more independent and also responsible for whatever action he takes. He clicked the 'check, check, check' buttons on the university accommodation Terms & Conditions yesterday - and he is aware that, this time, if he decides to opt out there will be no refunds.
Also, this time, the money is coming out of his own funds, care of some rather wise investments my late grandmother made decades ago in the last century which now yield some attractive dividends, and which my mother has handed over to Ben. Yesterday I told him he'd have to draw on this money to pay for his accommodation. So he's having to take charge of his own finances rather than the 'bank of mum'.
(Curiously, it's a large corporation in Australia that is paying for Ben's university accommodation, via the share dividends!)
Also, this year the university plan is slightly different.
Last year, Ben insisted he was leaving for university and wouldn't return home at all until Christmas.
But, as you know, he was back home within two days.
This year, he's booked a slightly different kind of apartment - bigger and in a different apartment block. And, because he won't have lectures on Fridays, he will initially come home for long weekends until he feels comfortable enough to remain in Sheffield for full weeks. We only live a 40 minute train ride away.
But everything - lists, packing, bank accounts, etc etc etc - is being organised by Ben while I take a back seat.
And, unlike last year, I'm not so anxious about getting all the food equipment and supplies ready so he has no excuse not to eat - because I know he will eat regardless, and he is already familiar with the local supermarket, uni coffee shop, cafe and so on.
Plus, he is in a far better place overall this year.
So, with any luck, it should work out OK!