Why smother love is on its way out

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Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word

Worry, stress, smother, these are things I am working on no longer doing around my kidults.

“Difficult to stop,” my aunty tells me. “It’s even worse when they’ve gone grey. Which reminds me, I’ll just bob round with his ironing.”

Mine haven’t reached that stage yet, but two are definitely adults and the third now old enough to vote, leave school, have piercings (but not tattoos yet, ha, ha ha) and drink herself giddy with high-energy drinks were she not a health-conscious gym bunny. In fact she looks so adult that last week I didn’t recognise her in the shop where she works part-time even though I was staring straight at her. Three times I eyeballed her, thinking “that woman has quite similar hair to Youngest, but she’s wearing glasses. She’s really watching me, bet she thinks I’m going to leg it with these trainers I’m stroking, wonder if she knows where Youngest is…” Then I get a text: “That’s me, at the fitting room. You’ve stared straight at me three times. Wear your glasses.”

Same with Eldest, also this week.

“Hello, have you had a good day? Been out with your friends?” I say one evening.

“No, been at work. Really good day. It’s so satisfying seeing how the children I’m teaching have progressed over the year, just been telling their parents.”

Gulp, he’s chatting with parents, on their level.

So, they’re adults who need me to let go and admit that my worrying is in fact a selfish validation of my own need to cling on to an increasingly redundant role.

Clinging on, that reminds me, Middle is currently in a home box on wheels that he and his pal are driving (I’m not worried, they’re good drivers) around France where they’re bouldering (boulders sound better than cliffs, I’m not worried).

“Hey Ma,” he texts. “Weather turned bad so we’ve moved on. We’re in Bruges, watching In Bruges. Going up the belfry tomorrow. Night, xx.”

Aw lovely. I google Bruges. Venice of the North, they’re visiting the medieval cathedral, how very grown up. I read on... “with a narrow, steep staircase of 366 steps leading to the top of the 83m high building, which LEANS 87CM TO THE EAST”!!!

Nope, definitely not worried at all. n