Saturday, 17 February 2007

Ho Hum, Valentine.

Valentine’s Day was a wash out. Flowers that Hubby had sent me arrived at 6pm, far too late for me to be in a any good frame of mind to receive them, assuming that, as the day was almost over flower-delivery-wise, he’d forgotten me especially as the card didn’t materialise until two days later and what a shocker of a card it was. Now it is not as if Valentine’s Day comes as a surprise, no sooner has Boxing Day been and gone that supermarkets are decorating their stores with rose window stickers and filling their shelves with anything pink or Easter eggy – so why oh why, did the card I receive happen to be an amateur, handmade one with a teddy on it that looked at though its fur was purloined from matted pubic hair. I have never been a girly, teddy type of person – so that can only indicate one thing i.e. that Hubby has given up trying to romance me and that any card in the shop will do. I know he’s busy and that that careers of every junior logistician in the RN is his number one priority and that keeping the wife sweet on a few important dates in the year low on his ‘to do’ list but really…
Anyway, if I was feeling unloved, then my poor son, who has fallen in love for the first time, has had his heart broken. It seems only a few hours ago that the waft of teenage perfume, the flick of pretty highlighted hair, and the skinny jeaned legs of a siren was languishing on my sofa, my son not inches away from her, hanging on her every word - when he wasn’t kissing the breath out of her and now – in the cruel vernacular of teenage parlance - he has been dumped.
He went, oh so full of beans to Plymouth on Valentines Day ready to spend the day with her, on his person a well chosen gift and an excellent card – poem included, which whilst not written himself then at least researched on the internet. Hours later I received a call from him with the bad news. As anyone who has suffered at the mercy of unrequited love would know, I could have howled for him, coupled with the fact that it was my darling boy who was in pain. It was torture waiting for him to arrive safely home. Unfortunately I couldn’t even go and get him because it is half term in Plymouth but not Cornwall thus I was attending to my various charges – being the only stay at home mother I provide quite a service to friends whose children are on holiday and who don’t have anywhere else to go. So I was stuck between the needs of - on the cusp teenage girls and the school run for 5 year olds.
When eventually my boy did return, he shut me out. I think that was the hardest thing of all to deal with. For the past fourteen years I have salved his pain, doled out the Calpol, stuck on a plaster, kissed his ‘ow’ away and made it all better but now I just couldn’t reach him. “I don’t want to talk about it”, he said resolutely, shutting his bedroom door firmly and later, when I went to bed and turned out my light I could hear his sobs from the other side of the wall. It was agony for us both.
The following day, friends of his came and gathered him in their collective bosom and took him out, leaving me only to fret. Hubby of course is also most concerned, “Bless, I’m not surprised he’s upset, she was quite a looker”.
“For God’s sake it went deeper than that”.
“Hmm”, he said distractedly, “Listen Alice give him a hug from his dad, I’ve got a problem with my plot. Later”.
Sighing I put the phone down and weighed out the measurements for a batch of flapjacks – when all else fails I take Nigella’s lead and use the smell of warm cakes as therapy. It must be something to do with our olfactory system and the fact that the aroma of baking returns us to our own childhood and of a kitchen and a mother and a grandmother. Anyway, no sooner had I poured the molten syrup into my rolled oats than Mags and her sister Lucy, “Coo-ee’d” through the front door. I hadn’t seen Lucy for some time and had forgotten how formidable she was. A Home Counties dweller, she has a go getting career that has been facilitated by a succession of no-nonsense nannies. Her daughters - young teenagers, are what’s referred to these days as, ‘princesses’ and what these little princesses want, they have. For instance a stretch limo took them and their little friends to Pizza Express in the West End of London when they were nine, leaving little to the imagination now they are approaching seventeen. Consequently, Lucy has spawned a couple of monsters who must now be bought 50 quid knickers, be supplied with their own credit cards and for Valentine’s Day, it transpired over warm flapjacks and a cafetiere of coffee, their gifts from their boyfriends were Tiffany knick-knacks. These baubles were not saved up for by the boyfriends after a hard year’s paper round – oh no, Lucy’d bought them for the boyfriends to give her little darlings because “they have very high standards”. Crackers.
Normality of a sort will be restored on Monday when the two eldest ones return to school and when double chemistry will hopefully take my son’s mind off his angst. With the advent of Cornwall’s half-term it’s round two for me however and I am taking the little ones to London on the train for a couple of days. Should anyone see me, frazzled and attempting to keep control of two spirited little girls, please, don’t hesitate to help.

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