Family: Janet Christie's Mum's the Word

Edited highlights of Middle's adventures


I’m waiting for a bus outside the airport, adjusting to the gloom after three days of sunshine when I realise Middle Child will also be flying in from Portugal today, about now in fact. If I time this right I can pretend I’ve come to meet him, all planned and efficient and proper parent style.

I text him and head back indoors. “I’m at airport, I’ll meet you at arrivals.”

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“Yeah, Eldest said you might be here. See you in a minute,” he texts back.

Aw. Again, with the three of them messaging among themselves and outfoxing me. This has been happening a lot recently, information exchanges that I’m not party to, left out of the loop. I’m losing my grip.

Here he comes, a bit thin so he’s all massive smiling white teeth in dark tanned face. Though a lot of that comes off in our hug.

“Dirt,” he says. “Been sleeping on the beach. You should try it. YOU’D love it.”

“Would I?” I say, surprised. Three kids in, I’ve no idea what I love anymore, always choosing whatever will shut them all up. So it’s pizza, chips, chicken wings, ice cream, any film with Will Ferrell in it, skateboards, false eyelashes, sliding down Arthur’s Seat on a bin bag, anything to keep the peace.

“Course,” he says. “Sleeping on the sand, sometimes in caves.”

“Caves?” I say and shudder. “But what about washing…”

“The sea,” he says.

“And cooking?”

“Campfire.” Ah yes, that smell, it’s woodsmoke and goat. Take that Tom Ford.

“Don’t think I’d cope without a mattress...”

“Hammock, or the sand’s soft.”

“What about creatures at night?”

“Ha, ha. Yeah, I thought one of us was squeaking in their sleep one night – squeak, squeak, squeak, it was sweet. Then when we woke up in the morning there were loads of little footprints all around us. Rats I think.”

“Don’t tell me any more.”

“And travelling around is so easy, you just hitch… we went along the whole coast.”


“Just as well I didn’t know.”

“Didn’t Eldest and Youngest tell you?” he says. “We were all what’sappinstafacingtextmsgingdon’ttellmuming each other.”

Hmph. Yep, being out of the loop. That’s what I love. I sleep better that way. In my bed, on a mattress, near a shower. Ignorance, it’s bliss.