Family: @JanetChristie2’s Mum’s the Word

PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS''JANET CHRISTIE ,  MAGAZINE WRITER
PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS''JANET CHRISTIE , MAGAZINE WRITER
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Road trip offers Middle a few driving lessons

You’re up early,” I say to Eldest Child, who is foraging in the fridge early doors and not in his usual home attire of dressing gown. Suspicious. “Yeah. Wassup?” he says.

“Oh, nothing, just, you know, going to work. Like I do, on weekdays.”

“I thought you were coming with us,” he says. “We’re all going to the Highland Wildlife Park, remember. Middle’s driving us. I’m collecting food to take.”

It’s coming back to me now. There was talk of Eldest treating his girlfriend to a day at the park to see the polar bears, and Middle is driving them, in his new role as (more pleasant) family driver.

Middle appears and forages in the fridge too.

“You coming with us Mum?” he says.

“Nah, thought I’d go to work.”

“Take a day off. We’re going to see the bears.”

“Can’t. You do know how far it is don’t you?” I say. “It’s a long way, there and back in a day.”

“Nah, it’s just up the A9.”

“Oh right. Have fun.”

Hours later they return. Eldest has had “the best day EVER”, Youngest, mixed – “They all listened to EVERYTHING they said at the animal houses, even though it was on the labels, so I went and sat in the car for a bit.”

Yup, with her phone. And Middle, who is looking a little... frazzled?

“Awesome. Sorry you missed it. But I am so sick of them in the car,” he says.

“Oh?”

“They kept changing the music.”

“Hmmm.”

“And playing it loud.”

“Yeah.”

“And not map reading ‘cos they were sorting the choons.”

“Hate that.”

“And eating and drinking... and laughing. Then Eldest said, ‘well I’m bored now, think I’ll have a nap’. He was meant to be navigating! And that was all on the way there.”

“Aw, you did very well, I’m proud of you.”

“All those years you’ve driven us. And we’ve not appreciated it...”

“Yes. All those years… but I have a skill you don’t get taught at driving school, a manoeuvre that only comes with years of practice.”

“What’s that?”

“Driving with one hand while you reach behind to slap the legs of those on the back seat.”