I’m planning a night out. Trying to book a two-hour slot, indoors woohoo, some respite from the rain and a chance to banish the beanie in situ since October.
“No, not there; they don’t have good cocktails,” says Youngest.
“I beg your pardon? Cocktails ? You shouldn’t …”
“I’m 18. Remember?”
“Oh yeah. Course.”
To be honest I do forget, despite her driving, voting and wearing my big coat when she goes for (yet another walk) with a pal. The saddest part is she even eats the Werther’s Originals in the pockets.
Like all the rites of passage her generation have missed during Covid, her big birthday came and went, and apart from the plastic flute of fizz she resolutely carried around the park in the drizzle on a birthday walk with me and the big bros, a passer-by wouldn’t have known we were mid-celebration. I thought it went very well. Quiet. Safe.
For teens the pandemic has been more paint the passage than rite of passage and Youngest has been entertaining herself with a tester pot. The correctly spelt expletives on the hall wall cheer me up no end, and remind me of when she was little and wrote in tiny writing I Hate Mummy (well, big brothers, what can you do). Bless.
She’s right about the lavender shade - better than the teal I’ve been toying with. It’s still not painted yet, since no-one but us has been over the door all year, and I’ve settled into full clarty mare mode. But no more, visitors threaten and it’s time to sort this shambles, paint the hall, de-flea the cat - right after I’ve been inside a pub.
“OK, I’m booking that bar you like, from that looooong list you gave me,” I tell her. It still sounds wrong. Lockdown has lulled me into a sense of security around my kidults, with them being locked down and all clubs, festivals and climbing centres closed. Quiet. Safe
“And I’m buying paint,” I say. “Time for a refresh, a re-set, a big reveal.”
“Definitely. I’ve got a booking too,” she says. “For my tattoo.”
“Lovely,” I say. “That tiny Mackintosh-inspired tulip on your tummy’s cute. Maybe another like that would be... er, sick,” I say.
“No, I’m thinking more a big oriental dragon all the way down.”
“Wait, we’re still talking cocktails, right?” I say.
She snorts. Out there be dragons.