My eldest son is twenty-two and is leaving home at the end of the week. He did the leaving home thing once before, but then moved back in as a stop-gap while he was looking for a flat, and eighteen months later here we are. He works mostly evenings so he’s been around a lot during the daytime, and he’s really good company. I’ll miss him.
He was going through all the forms he needs to fill in before he can move in to the flat he’s found with his mate, and there were so many checks the letting agent seemed to need, just to make sure he’s an official human being.
‘I’ll get you two referees,’ I said cheerfully, ‘I know two people who are in some form of employment and live in houses.’
‘Ah Mum, thank you SOOOO much,’ he said, looking really grateful.
I thought a bit.
‘It’s not really anything special you know, any parent would do that.’
‘Oh I know but I’m really grateful Mum. Thank you.’
‘Yes but other parents would be paying the deposit, being a guarantor, hiring a van… It really is the basic minimum you’re getting from me. It’s just lucky I’ve got two friends.’
‘Yes but when you’re used to getting nothing from a parent,’ he said cheerfully and matter-of-factly, ‘you really appreciate what you do get.’
‘Everything’s a bonus eh son?’ I spluttered, once I’d picked myself up from under the table.
‘Well yes,’ he said happily, ‘for instance, I know who to ask for a lift…’
I nearly spluttered indignantly: ‘But I offered you a lift!’ and then I remembered that what I’d actually said was ‘I don’t think we’d get your mattress into my car’ – which is not the same thing is it?
‘Yeah. Your dad.’ I conceded.
‘Promise me you’ll remember to leave the house sometimes Mum,’ he said.
But who’s going to remind me? And who’s going to make me splutter with laughter during the day while I’m trying to work? Who’s going to go and switch the radio off for me whenever Radio 3 starts playing opera?
I was trying to think of some positives in the situation and all I’ve come up with so far are these: my water bills will go down, and I will be slightly clearer about which towels need washing.
Doesn’t really make up for all the other stuff though does it? Guess I’ll just have to get out of the house more.