Sunday, 23 September 2012

Emptying Nest

Incredible though it seems, my life and that of my family, seems to be degenerating further into a situation comedy, with the rest of my community as its laughter track, whilst I sit in a corner somewhere, not so silently pulling at my newly highlighted hair. It was bound to happen now that Hubby is no longer here , because were he, I would, if not pass the buck, then at least look at him helplessly as I grapple with the change that I am struggling to embrace. So, first things first. My son. That gorgeous first born who informed me a few nights ago that he no longer requires my services and instead wants to shack up with his girlfriend. “That’s it?”, I cried, “That’s it? You don’t want me anymore?” There is no manual when your baby gives you this sort of news, ergo I had absolutely no idea how to respond rationally and relied, perhaps a little erroneously, on gut instinct i.e with a modicum of high drama and emotion. “See this?”, I demanded, pointing to my belly, “This gave you life. And these?” I added, pointing to my nipples, “These bled for you and now you tell me, oh so casually, that you don’t need me anymore”. “Mum”, he replied, “You stopped breast feeding me 18 years ago, get over it”. “Get over it?”, my voice had by now reached dangerously high decibels, from which there is little chance of return to normal and more measured speech. Under normal circumstances, I would have by now passed the baton to Hubby, whilst throwing myself onto the sofa, to wail and tear at my breast. As it was, I was alone with my son and my histrionics. “But why?”, I beseeched, “Why? Aren’t you happy here? Don’t you feel loved anymore?” “Ma, for God’s sake, it’s not like that. It’s just that me and my girl want a bit of space”. I reeled. “Space? Space? Space?”, I spat, “What the hell do you mean space? Have you become an astronaut now?” “You’re mental”, he replied. “I am not mental, I am heartbroken. You have all the bloody ‘space’ you need. Far more generously awarded you than any other teenager that I can think of. Apart from walk the dogs occasionally and empty the dishwasher, little else is asked of you, and your girl stays over seven nights a week, I do your washing and feed you and her too when I have a vegetarian option on”. “Well, we’ve found somewhere Ma. It’ll be fine”. And that was the end of that. I poured myself a very large glass of wine and picked up a baby photograph of him with his tiny, precious foot in his father’s hand. He’s nineteen. I had such hopes for him. Such expectations and now, instead of being at University with his friends, he wants to go and play house with his girlfriend. I am redundant. I drank more than was wise, especially given the fact that the following morning I had to drive my eldest daughter to Cardiff University’s Open Day. She was excited. Her eyes blazed with the fire of opportunity and adventure. “It’s a great Uni”, she said later, “The English lecturer was clever and eccentric. The student union is buzzing and the city is fab”. I have one more year of her. One more year of my darling girl and her brains and her beauty before I have to hand her over and share her with the rest of the world. All the time Hubby, at his meetings and schedules and admin is utterly oblivious to my breaking heart. We drove home again that night in torrential rain. The windscreen wipers were I redundant as I. When I arrived home, Dad was flaked on the sofa. “Have they been good?”, I asked, gesticulating to my youngest children who were now hanging onto each of my legs. “As gold”, he said smiling, although he didn’t stay, glad to return home next door to a little peace and quiet, where the demands are few and the television not as exuberant. I snuggled one and then the other under their duvets and asked about their days. The eldest of the two happily regaled me with the results of a perfect spelling test and the fact that she can now name every one of Henry VIIIth’s wives. In order. The Red-Head however, was a little subdued. “How did your presentation go?” I asked her. She and her very big sister had worked hard on a presentation of our Queen. “Not good”, she sighed. “Oh dear”, I replied, lowering myself onto the bed beside her, “What went wrong? Did you forget what you had to say?” “No”. “Well what can be so bad then?”, I asked, oh so naively. “There was a funny bit at the beginning”. “There you are you see. You entertained your class. You made them laugh. Was it about the Queen?” “No”. “What was it then?” “My brother’s girlfriend in her bra and knickers”. My blood ran cold. It seems that the USB stick that the presentation had been saved onto had belonged to our son. Hubby had found it on the coffee table and handed it, without realising, to our eldest daughter who, being an expert on the Royals, helped her youngest sister with her presentation and saved it onto said USB stick. The ensuing drama unfolded when the Red-Head had then opened her presentation up in front of a class of 7 and 8 year old and voila, cue delighted 7 and 8 year olds, a bewildered Red-Head and a mortified, newly qualified young teacher, when instead of a picture of HRH on the interactive whiteboard, a rather revealing, if thank God, tasteful picture of her brother’s girlfriend’s corset confronted the class instead. Were it a sitcom, it would be hilarious, but honestly? You just can’t make this stuff up.

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