Sitting in a bar in Seville I’m racked with guilt. Here I am on a flying visit, tucking in to tapas and cerveza and who knows what my poor mites back at home are eating. Yes, I’ve stuffed the fridge with fresh food, made lasagne and soup from scratch and stashed them in the freezer, left them money, but still...
It’s not like I didn’t invite them, but the boys had college, jobs, gigs, and as for Youngest, the conversation went something like this:
“Want to come to Spain?”
“No thanks. Got to meet my friends in the park. And I’m going into town to look at a new top.”
“You can do that any time.”
“Hmmm. Will it be sunny?”
“I hope so!”
“Definitely not then. I’ll go to Other Parent’s.”
So it is that I’m freed up to be entertained by my friend getting The Daughter Treatment. It’s mellow since the daughter’s twentysomething and lovely in many ways (particularly good with translation, travel arrangements, accommodation, itineraries, the whole shebang really), but apparently there are still ways a mother irritates.
“Double denim?” says daughter to mother, as we prepare for a day’s sightseeing. “Go and change.” Or in the flea market, “Not another German army shirt. You’ve already got four!” then finally, as we’re leaving for our flight home, “No, we are not taking a detour to get coals for shisha pipes!”
Observing this I pine for my kids. At the Alcazar, Game of Thrones’ Gardens of Dorne, I take a selfie for Eldest. At the Plaza de Espana (Star Wars, Attack of the Clones) I take one for Middle. For Youngest, I snap my patatas bravas. Aw, they’d love this.
As the guilt grows, I buy gifts: castanets for Eldest, a belt for Middle, a necklace for Youngest.
By the time I get home I’m bursting with remorse. They must be in pieces, waiting. But no, the house is empty, silent. They care not a jot.
Until finally, Eldest Child appears.
“Hi, mum. What’s for tea?”
I knew it. Starved. I’m still needed. n