I recently had a day away from my family.
As it was a school day, my escape had to be planned with the kind of precision that would make the fiercest sergeant major smile. I had pre-packed lunches in the fridge, clean shirts ironed and hanging up, a written timetable for hubbie detailing who had to be where and when and the correct sports kit laid out on my son’s bed ready for later.
In the words of my husband “What could go wrong?”
Half an hour into my journey, I was relaxing on the train with a steaming latte and a good book when my mobile rang.
“You didn’t wake me up. I’ve overslept,” shouted a very grumpy teenage daughter. “Can I have a lift to college?”
“Better ask your Dad, he’s on duty today.”
“Oh, typical! He isn’t even up yet,” came the reply shortly before the line went dead.
I resumed my book and took a sip of my latte. A full twenty minutes elapsed before I received a second call. It was daughter number two.
“I haven’t got any lunch.”
“It’s in the fridge.”
“But we’re in the car.”
“Maybe you could go back for it?”
“No, we’re already late.”
“Ask Dad for some dinner money then,” I said, but she had already hung up.
Happily my son doesn’t yet have a mobile phone, so I knew he couldn’t phone me, even if there was a problem. He’ll be alright, I said to myself, they all will, stop worrying.
But as someone wise once said: “As soon as you become a mum you will be anxious for the rest of your life.”
I phoned my husband.
“Is everything alright?” I asked.
“Of course it is. Do you think we can’t cope without you?”
Well, yes, actually, I thought, but I didn’t say it.
Several hours and many miles later, I received a call from my friend asking why my son wasn’t at football practice.
I phoned home again. Father and son were happily playing on the PS3, sports practice forgotten along with dinner, so it appeared from the subsequent calls from my daughters.
“Fish and chip shop,” I suggested helpfully, having missed my train home to answer my mobile.
“Ask Dad, he’s in charge today.”
“But mum,” she said, “He’s fast asleep on the sofa.”
Guess the day had just proved too much for him! Poor dear.