Friday, 18 July 2014


It is 2 o'clock in the morning. I give up and get out of bed. I have slept briefly but woken again. I'm worrying about him. He's out there somewhere, possibly tramping the dark south London streets by himself in a homeward direction, possibly still at the party/pub/mate's house laughing and drinking.

He was once the baby I allowed to sleep in my bed for so long, so I could wake and see him breathing quietly and peacefully next to me. To him that was many moons ago, to me it was hardly any time at all.

Now he is an 'adult', so I can't tell him when to come home. But how can you tell your child that it makes not one jot of difference to you what age it says on his passport/provisional driving licence? To be one day 17 and the next 18 does not mean your mother thinks any differently about you, that she thinks you are more safe, less likely to come to harm. 

No doubt this anxiety will fade. These sleepless nights will become a distant memory, just like those baby ones are. But right now they are no less powerful and disrupting for that.

I go downstairs and make some herbal tea. I sit and drink it in the morning half-light, the thin breaking dawn of high summer.

There is the sound of the key in the lock, the click of the door. A few words exchanged. A glance at the clock which tells us both it is 3.20 am.

I go back to bed. Now I can finally turn off my phone, which was glowing ready beside me, and the light on the landing.

Sleep comes quickly at last, knowing that all those I love most in the world are safely tucked up once more under the same roof. 

Love E x




  1. Thanks for clarifying.I'm sure you still look amazing. I've just turned 50, it's almost liberating. Almost! I felt your relief when you eldest arrived home. My eldest (of three) is 16 next month, we're at the stage where she gets delivered and picked up from parties, I don't think I'm looking forward to the long nights of worry and wait.

  2. It's tricky. I don't know about you but I was out at all hours at that age - but I had a boyfriend so I was always with him so I don't think my parents worried. Plus it was north yorkshire, not south London. I think girls are less likely to take risks like walking the streets alone. My son is adamant, won't take a taxi or anything. Think I may have a chest infection now btw! Should probably have slowed down this week but it has been manic, not least the social things like comedy, theatre and a movie. And I just wrote a piece called In Praise of Doing Nothing! :)

  3. Do you have a link to your Telegraph pieces, I'd love to read them?