Opinion: Janet Christie – Mum’s the Word - I agree with Ronan Keating: “You say it best when you say nothing at all.”

Youngest Child plans a trip to Portugal
Mum's the WordMum's the Word
Mum's the Word

It’s a challenge, keeping quiet when your kidults are trying to draw you into opposing them, stirring up an argument to justify their rebellion, the added impetus of parental huffing and puffing merely the wind beneath their wings to do whatever they were going to do anyway, but I’m doing my best. And it turns out time is on my side.

“I don’t know whether to tell you this,” says Youngest, last week.

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“I wouldn’t then. I’m having a nice day,” I say. “WE’RE having a nice day.” Crisis averted.

“I’m booking Portugal ” she says. Can’t help herself. Today’s youth love to share, keep the lines of communication open. I’m not saying MY parents’ ‘we won’t ask questions, you don’t tell lies’ approach was necessarily the best, but things were a lot quieter, for them at any rate.

“I know what you’ll say,” she continues. “You shouldn’t go. You’ll have to have lots of tests, self-isolate when you come back, the Covid risks… holidays are not essential travel...”

“Ok. I won’t say it then,” I manage. This is hard.

“But I’m 18. I can do what I like.”

“Ooooh too far, lady,” I say, then take several big breaths. She almost had me going there, but no.

“I wouldn’t say you can do what you like exactly, because with adult choices come responsibilities, but if this is your choice and you’ve researched it properly and come to an informed decision, there’s nothing I can do about it,” I say.

“Good. Cos I have. Researched it. And it won’t be like when the boys went away.”

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“Don’t bring up Maga. Not helpful,” I say. Shudder. “Anyway, there wasn’t a pandemic then.”

“I’m just telling you. Not asking,” she says.



Five minutes later I’m googling Portugal. Clubs closed, ha ha, tick. Bars and restaurants limited opening, lol, tick. Masks compulsory even on the beach apart from when you sit on your socially isolated towel near your very small group of friends. Tick. Best of all there’s a 10.30pm curfew. Excellent.

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I don’t bombard her with all this - she’s already researched it hasn’t she and she’ll have the up to the minute info in this 24/7 world.

But then comes news Portugal has moved from green to amber. That’s too hard not to share. Lol.

“I’m still going.”


Time will tell...

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