Middle One is away. Youngest is at school. It will be Eldest’s sixteenth birthday tomorrow and his phone has died because he dropped it down the stairs last week when he was throwing it in the air and catching it again. Except that he didn’t. Catch it I mean.
But I’m tired. I’ve just got back from taking Youngest to school, having a quick coffee and buying food (yet more) before the routine tidy up and the sweeping and the washing and more tidying and I’m not really right, not since that cold with the dodgy tummy thing last week, but Eldest wants me to go straight out again to get this phone, for his birthday, so I can hardly say no.
We go to Carphone Warehouse and wait in a huge queue and eventually talk to a really lovely guy behind the counter who tries very hard, for a very long time, to get Eldest a good deal. And he does. An amazing deal. So that when we part we are so happy and thankful that this lovely guy shakes Eldest’s hand and wishes him a great birthday for tomorrow and we stagger out onto pavement elated. “We’ve been in there nearly an hour!” I say. “I’m hungry,” he says. So I suggest the café again and to my surprise (again) my son agrees.
So we go to the café and eat lunch and chat and he sits opposite me where Middle One sat last week and he tells me about his life and he is very funny (“It's not that I'm paranoid, it’s just everyone is ganging up against me”) and warm and I think, you know what, they may drive me crackers, I may never get a single moment ever to myself, I might be drowning in all the cooking and cleaning and drudgery, I might have given up my career to be at home with him and his brothers, I might wish I was out of the house more, being a high-flyer, still at the BBC maybe, earning loads of money instead of sporadic bits and pieces here and there with a bit of journalism thrown in and no security and no career path and no pension. I might have a string of ideas for novels and absolutely no time to sit down and write them, but I wouldn’t swap this for the world.
They won’t always be around and these moments, these little trips out together, which seem so small and inconsequential and mundane at the time, they are my memories, each one a little building block that added together I will look back and realize, made my life.