Wednesday, 31 August 2011

One Down, Two to Go

I'm saying that tongue in cheek. We sent the Queenager off to college last week and it's still a bit raw. The Ball & Chain drove her from Chicago to DC on the Thursday, - 12 hours almost straight. She was not a happy bunny. The plan was for me and the boys to fly there on Saturday to help settle her in and say a final goodbye, but hurricane Irene did a bit of a number on our plans.

To say we were disappointed is an understatement.

Anyway, I tried to be stoic about it; after all the flight was cancelled and if I'd even wanted to drive, we wouldn't have arrived in time. It was totally out of my control. I went with the flow.

She was with her dad and the college locked all the students into their dorms on the Saturday night till the worst of it was over. DC fared very well given what other places have suffered, but the college Starbucks is now sporting a large tree in the doorway, and the Queenager had to relearn her walking directions from dorm to classroom and back. (The fact that it's all within a few blocks didn't help her - she needs to know exactly where she's going otherwise she tends to end up in the next state.)

Her head is still in the Expat household as she's texting and calling quite a lot, but I know that will all change probably in the next week or so. I'm grateful that I'm not one of those mothers who's currently now panicking because it's been almost a week and no texts. Nothing. Zip. Nada.

However, it would have been more meaningful if the first ever text hadn't been -

"Beyonce's PREGNANT!"


Monday, 8 August 2011


As the proud owner of an 18 year old on the brink of leaving home (assuming he gets the results required to get into the university of his choice) I am beginning to learn how to let go and stop worrying about him when he's out of my sight. Given that finishing A Levels appears to be the excuse to pack in about eight different post exam holidays where they don't appear to get any sleep for days on end, to worry about them daily would simply result in a heart attack I suspect.

He is about to embark on an 3 week tour of "cheap beers" around Europe with five of his friends. The thought of it fills me with horror. In my day, when we all went inter-railing around Europe our parents simply had to wave us off with our rucksacks and hope for the best. Now we have a means of spying on them, of tracking their route. Sort of like giving them a bar code or a little mini camera to put on to their heads. We can check in and even sometimes expect a reply. Now that he's 18 he has finally added me as a "friend" on Facebook so that I can see what they're all up to. Initially I was delighted - how wonderful to be able to share in his experience, but I have to say it's not for the weak hearted and I'm wondering if perhaps it was better for my parents who were blissfully ignorant about what we all got up to. Mostly it's all rather horrifying and you wish you hadn't looked...

My friend called me this morning. "OMIGOD, I've just had a look at Jack's photos and I'm quite sure, although his head is turned to the side that it's not a spot he's got on his lower lip, IT"S A NEW PIERCING! I'm going to kill him." I too discovered that my son had allowed himself to be branded with yet another tattoo whilst on holiday recently in Cyprus. Then you have to look at photos of them behaving badly in nightclubs and dancing on tables - "who ARE all those people he's with?" I constantly think to myself.

Still, it's a brave new world out there and we might as well get on it with them and I guess it's reassuring to know they're still alive.

What do you think?

Would that I could take her place

The Queenager had her bottom wisdom teeth removed this morning. (She only has two, but the two she has are the hardest to remove.)

The oral surgeon had explained what he would do, and she wasn't happy. Unfortunately, they were already growing off to the side and would create havoc if allowed to remain.  Obviously I went with her, but I warned her that I wouldn't be able to stay during the procedure. (Had they given me the option, I'm not sure I could have stayed, but the option wasn't even there.)

They gave her a twilight drug and the procedure only took half an hour.  I told her that she wouldn't be aware of most  of it. That was the only thing I could do to bring her pulse down and take away the fear. When I went in afterwards, tears were trickling down her face. My heart broke.

I'm not sure what I'll be like if she ever had to undergo anything more serious, or if she ever gives birth. I remember when I went into labour with her. I phoned my own mum in England and told her I was going to the hospital. As we said goodbye I detected a crack in her voice and wondered why on earth she was crying. Obviously, she had an inkling of the agony that was to come, but I know now, that as a mother, she would willingly have taken my place if she could.

I think mothering is the hardest when we are powerless to take away the pain and discomfort.

Anyway, as I write, she's drugged up to her eyeballs, watching the Kardashians, so everything's OK now.