Sunday, 16 May 2021

Where did it all go so right?

Where did it all go so right?

Mink Elliott

I HAVE been dreading these summer holidays as much as the next mum — maybe even more. I’ve been so busy girding my loins, resting my vocal cords for the inevitable shouting matches and desperately trying to learn how to be mindful and meditate at a moment’s notice (impossible) before the kids got back from their holiday with their dad, I forgot to relax and enjoy my “me time”.

But after the day we had together yesterday, I wonder what on earth I was scared of.

They came bouncing through the front door, much to my and Cookie’s delight, full of hugs and kisses and I missed you so much-es (mainly from me, really) and exciting tales of capsizing canoes and Daddy performing fantastic feats of superhuman strength.

But when you haven’t seen your little darlings for seven whole days, it feels like you have to get to know them all over again. I mean, they look different, sound different, even smell different. Nothing that a hot wash with Persil Bio and Waitrose hint of honeysuckle fabric conditioner can’t sort out, but still.

Actually, come to think of it, they don’t sound all that different, either — after 10 minutes of our love-in, my Eleventeen-year-old daughter breaks away from the huddle, giggles at her phone and announces her boyfriend is coming over in 30 seconds. Then she flips her hair.

“Um, excuse me,” I stutter. “Boyfriend?”

“Duh,” she rolls her eyes to the ceiling. “Everyone’s got one, Mum.”

“I bet they don’t,” I scoff. “Not everyone...”

“Oh yeah, you don’t.”

Well, who’s got time for Elite Singles?

Suddenly she pirouettes over to the front door, answering The Boyfriend’s knock immediately.

He’s 11-and-a-half, in her class, obviously thinks she’s wonderful, loves Cookie, teaches my son how to play Match Attax and suggests we all go for a walk in the woods considering it’s not raining yet.

The Eleventeen-year-old smiles smugly at me and says: “I know, right?”

We all have a lovely time exploring the woods, so when I say I’ll drop The Boyfriend home on our way back and the Sunshiney Seven-Year-Old howls a pained “Nooooooooo!”, I ask the boy whether he’d like to come to Masoom’s for dinner with us in Goring.

He texts his mum (good boy) who okays it and before you can say lamb and lentils — what a yummy combo — he’s ordered three mango lassis for the kids, a jug of tap water for all of us and a Peshwari naan for me, telling me I’m going to love it. He’s right, I do.

Then, back at ours, the kids sit on Cookie’s massive luxurious fleece bed (my son squirming in between my daughter and her beau) and I fight the dog for the couch.

We all watch The Boyfriend’s favourite movie, Mr Peabody and Sherman, and he’s right, it is good and really quite funny — until his mum comes and picks him up.

Once The Boyfriend’s gone, though, the bottom lips jut out and the bickering threatens to start, so I panic promise we’ll all hit the Regal Picturehouse to see The Emoji Movie tomorrow.

Which is today. The Boyfriend isn’t here and this is how it’s gone so far:

“Morning, Glorious!” I peek my head around my son’s bedroom door.

“Urgh,” he grunts, turns over and resumes snoring.

“I love you, a bushel and a peck,” I sing as I skip into my daughter’s room and kiss her on the cheek.

“Get off!” she cries and kicks her leg out from under the duvet.

Dejected, I wander downstairs to see whether Cookie might be a little more enthusiastic about seeing me.

He’s on the couch, slobbery jowls sliming up my favourite velvet, turquoise cushion. Slowly he opens one eye and closes it again, as if to say: “Meh.”

Just like the Emoji character that someone has written a whole movie about — the one I have to suffer through today. The things we do for love, eh?

At least I can try to be mindful about all that popcorn I’ll shovel into my mouth. And practise meditation while I think about my Elite Singles profile: Single Mum, errm, nearly 50, errm, looking for kind, funny, errm, milk, bread, dog food, Febreze, must book Cookie into Naughty Mutt Nice for a deep clean…

But that’s another story…

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