When my sons were teenagers I always dreamed of the payback of going round to their houses to noise them up by raiding the fridge and lying around, borrowing money, helping myself to clothes and taking car keys.
So, when Middle Child suggests he’ll let me ride shotgun (in my car) over to Eldest’s to borrow ‘his’ bigger vehicle (borrowed in turn from Other Parent), I’m in.
“I’d take YOUR car to the beach but the surfboard won’t fit in,” Middle says, “and his is better for sleeping in.”
At Eldest the buzzer’s broken.
“Let’s throw things at his window,” I say eyeing the first floor, thinking bananas or whatever’s kicking about on the back seat of my car.
“No, we’ll phone him,” says Middle firmly. They used to be much more fun.
Eldest lets us in, enjoying his day off, but pleased to see us.
“Hello, what’s up?” he says.
“We thought we’d come round and play where you have to go round the house only standing on the door handles and tops of the furniture,” I say. “Remember, when you were mad about parkour?”
“Em… how about you come into the living room and sit on the sofa?” he says, uncertain. “Cup of tea?”
“Nah. Got any food?” I say, jinking past him into the kitchen, heaving open the fridge door. Result. It’s stacked with goodies although running a bit too much towards fruit and veg for my current mood.
“Help yourself,” he says. “I’ve just done a big shop. And the tidying.”
“No,” I say. “There’s nothing in there to eat. Got any snacks? Crisps, juice, biscuits?”
“Course,” he says, opening a big pantry door to reveal snack items on shelves, unravaged and orderly.
Sigh. I race up the hall under a wash drying on a pulley, towards the bedroom thinking about bouncing on the neatly-made up bed, but Middle intercepts me with a gentle dint sideways into the living room where the sofa faces a massive telly, sorry, gaming screen.
“Yeah,” says Eldest, “... great new game, blah, cool graphics, spraff, virtual world, drone, you decide the outcomes, zzzz” as a dinosaur jumping from behind a rock is blasted to smithereens. So much for loving David Attenborough.
“Aw yass! Says Middle and they settle down. “Want a shot Ma?”
“No, thank you. I have screen fatigue.”
I’ll just sit quietly while the grown ups play.