Janet Christie: Could I blow the mortgage just this once? No, I couldn’t

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You are really going to have to get a grip,” says Eldest Child. “I was out, my phone died. I was with my friends. I was fine.” Sigh.

Last weekend I jumped off my hamster wheel of domestic drudgery and ran away to the sun. And among two snatched selfish days there was a brief period of pure hedonism when 
I forgot who, when, where I 
was, and lived entirely in the 
moment.

It wasn’t when I was supine on the beach under an Italian sun so hot I could feel my pale Scottish skin sizzling. Even then as I lay with eyes shut, the gentle kiss of waves meeting shore was interrupted by a call from a child – could they have a tenner? No, they couldn’t.

It wasn’t when I killed time in the airport sniffing the buttery soft handbags in the Mulberry shop. Could I blow the mortgage just this once? No, I couldn’t.

It was when I kicked off my flip-flops and really ran, for the first time in years, barefoot through Pisa railway station. Unburdened by the paraphernalia of parenthood – kids’ coats, bags, buckets full of rockpool finds, snacks, gadgets, guilt, worry, disappointment, I ran as I had in childhood. As fast as I could, not caring how I looked, just enjoying the slap of sole on marble. And yes, I still could.

And then, best of all, a special moment of unadulterated joy as I arrived panting on the platform, just seconds too late. And laughed like a drain as 
my train home left without me.

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