Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Baby's gone, again.

It’s the early morning and my baby is leaving home, again. This is the hard bit, the tough thing about being a doting mother: watching your son go off into the world without you. I'm not one of those parents relishing a future empty nest, if you hadn't guessed. And by the way, I know I’m not supposed to write about Eldest because he doesn’t like it, but he doesn't read this stuff so I reckon I’m safe just telling you. 

I kiss him goodbye at the front door, some hours ago now, up on my tippy toes, because he’s a hell of a lot taller than I am, and then I hot-foot it straight back to bed with my laptop. I can’t help it, writing is the thing I do when I don’t know what to do with myself, which is a lot of the time.

Family life with these boys means everything to me, yet sadly in the week Eldest was home I only managed to corral them round the dinner table together three times, despite cooking a meal every day. Sometimes it feels as if it's all slipping through my fingers, now that they're 14, 17 and 20 respectively. And you know, if I sound a little wistful about that, maybe it's because I am.

I pinned Eldest down for a Saturday night steak supper, only to discover Middle One was off to a shubs. I squeezed the dinner in beforehand in the end, but it’s like herding cats. My bonding movie night with Eldest went tits up when the wifi went down and the Apple TV inexplicably wouldn’t work, but at least we managed a trip to the RA to see the Hockney portraits. We bought audio-guides and that nice Mr Hockney whispered sweet nothings down my lug holes in his lovely Yorkshire burr, telling me that apart from the face, it's hands and feet that say most about a person, but especially feet. Really? First it's Magritte without faces, now it's Hockney with feet. I have a bit of thing about feet myself, (you might say it's my Achilles heel) so I thought that was interesting.

 John Baldessari - has big feet

Eldest enjoyed the exhibition, which made me glad I took him along. I like to find common ground with each of them. With this one it’s art and films, with Youngest it’s all a bit of a struggle because he's 14 (God, do you remember being 14? it was a nightmare), while with that grown-up Middle One, it’s music, of course.

On the way to the Hockney we bumped into one of Eldest's old friends, a boy I vividly recall from nursery school days, when he had wild hair and unruly ways, and he still does. He didn't put the work in at school so now he works in Lidl, which is ironic because all he wants to do is drugs and party and that's exactly what Eldest is up to at university, so that'll learn him. 

Any road, as Hockney would say, right now I don't know when I'll see Eldest again, but I do know I should be grateful he’s happy to go his own way, has made a nice life for himself at university with his mates, his gorgeous girlfriend, his part-time job, his band, all that. When all's said and done, that's what I'm here for: raising boys to be men so they're able to go out into the world without me, and be happy. 

Love E x


P.S. You might even say it’s my calling.

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