Well, that’s it. Another Easter holiday over – Alex was back from university and it was wonderful to see him and have him home, although the time passed too quickly. I saw him off at the train station, doing my best to choke back tears… ( I do cry a lot anyway… even adverts can set me off…) and returned home to a row of accusing faces.
Ting and Charlie had actually started running towards me, but when they saw I was by myself, they stopped. Abruptly.
“Oh. He’s gone again… might just go and check this corner of the garden – just in case…”
Ting is particularly persistent in her search for Alex, looking in completely ridiculous places that he wouldn’t even hide in if he were here – like behind the rubbish bin… in my handbag… the laundry basket… behind the books on the shelves… and all the time she will maintain a constant chat:
“Oh – not under here…wahhh! So sad… perhaps here? Naa-oohhh! Where’s he gone, Mummy?!”
Charlie reclaims Alex’s empty bedroom as her throne room and gradually the cats come to accept that he really won’t be back for a while. And Lily starts bringing the mice in again….
“Uh-oh the sensible one’s gone off – better start providing for the older couple, they just don’t have a clue…”
Motherhood is a funny old thing. To be honest, I never expected to be a mother and I hated being pregnant… what is it about the pregnancy bulge that gives random strangers leave to come up and lay their hands on you?! But once your children are out in the world, it’s a constant worry… an ache… like prodding a gap in your mouth where a tooth used to be with your tongue.
Before Alex left, we were waiting at the bus stop to catch the bus into town for his train when a young woman we both knew who had recently had another baby, the older child now being about three, stopped to chat.
We talked about our respective children’s doing, an older lady overhearing and joining in the conversation – her son was in his last year at university – and we all shared that one common thing. Just how much we will and do miss our children when they have to go away, and I felt a lovely moment of unity, joined with these other mothers, proud of our children, missing them, yet supporting them all the way.
In conclusion then, on behalf of mothers everywhere (and their sad cats) I would like to end on an extremely relevant message…
“Will you PLEASE remember to text me when you get there so I know you’re all right!”