Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word

Bit by bit they’re starting to look after me


As the kids become adults there’s a lot of role reversing going on that I’m starting to like.

There’s transport: Middle gives me lifts in the car, even fills it with petrol, even pays for it. Result.

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There’s food: Eldest makes me healthy green shakes (bleugh TBH, but I know they’re good for me and it saves me peeling and chopping fruit and veg, who can be bothered with that?). They all write my shopping list and it majors on kale, spinach, avocados, blueberries, salmon and the like. Often they’ll accompany me and carry it (probably to make sure I don’t take a detour along the Wall of Crisps). Result.

There’s housekeeping: Youngest likes ironing (I know) and can transform a house from midden to on-the-market viewer magnet with a few flicks of a J-cloth, all without taking her eye off Love Island or interrupting her running commentary (“oooh, he’s so disrespectful, it’s going to kick off now, don’t speak to me it’s live, if you’re going to stand and watch it, sit down and don’t ask questions…)

And finally my favourite, looking out for the old dear: I arrive home on a weekend night (when Youngest is at Other Parent’s) in the small hours to find Middle lurking in the hall.

“Is that you home now?” he says, redundantly.

“Er… yes.” Why is he standing there, alone and palely loitering?

“You weren’t waiting up for me, were you?” I ask, heading for the kitchen, considering firing up the burners for a fry up, noticing the time and feeling slightly guilty. This must be what it used to be like for them (without the feeling slightly guilty part) when I was the one waiting up. “Well, I’m just on my way to bed now,” he says, not moving.

“OK.” He’s still watching me.

“Have a glass of water before you go to bed.”

Ah. He thinks I’ve been drinking.

“I’ve only had two,” I say, sadly true. I haven’t got it in me to guzzle alcopops.

As long as they don’t gang up and suggest I give up the vaping, I could get to like this. Let’s hope they don’t get any crazy ideas about leaving home.

As if...