Family: Janet Christie's Mum's the Word

Now I remember why I don't shop with the boys



It’s 10:30pm on a weeknight and as I arrive home Eldest and Middle Child hijack me for a lift to the supermarket. Thank goodness for 24/7 opening. Not.

They have urgent shopping to do as they’re both on a health kick and trying to bulk up. Now, if I was naturally tall and thin I’d be out celebrating – in Lycra. Or in bed with a box set, instead of here, cruising the aisles in search of a lint roller to deal with my ginger-cat-owner-human-macaroon look, while they buy protein shakes.

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They don’t trust me to buy them and they’re quite right. I’d just buy an extra dozen eggs. And make them eat them, whites and yolks. If I catch Eldest making egg white omelettes and chucking away the yolks again, he’ll be wearing them.

It’s years since I’ve been shopping with the pair of them, since I discovered the joys of online, and it’s just as well the shop’s almost empty as they’ve lost a decade and reverted to type.

I can see Eldest way ahead at the end of an aisle, pushing a trolley, picking up speed, then lifting his feet off the ground as he flies across the tiles, laughing. If he hits someone he’s not my child.

Come to think of it he’s not my child, he’s an adult, and so is the other Not My Child, who is launching plastic bottles of juice underarm along the floor with sufficient force to roll the entire length of the shop (and we’re talking warehouse not corner) to his brother who catches them before they explode.

Now I remember how they behave in shops/airports, museums, any big open spaces. It makes them giddy and they want to race about, tag teaming, spreading bonhomie/alarm, depending on your attitude to boisterous young folk. That’s why their childhood was spent outside where there isn’t so much to break, so many people to apologise to. I run through my list of apologies – ‘very sorry, it’s past their bed time’ and ‘I’m just looking after them for someone’ – when I remember, they’re grown up, not my responsibility, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

I take my lint roller, zip quietly through the check out and wait for them in the car.