Gardening, not art, GARDENING! 

The Youngest had art club, this means picking up The Eldest only to walk in the house then turn around and leave again. The Eldest hates this so, casting aside all his anxieties about being home alone, he decided he’d brave being left for 20 whole minutes. This is his first ever home aloneness, this is huge, HUGE I tell thee. We had a few moments to prepare.

Snacks – check.

Drink – check.

Back door locked – check. 

Dog suddenly allowed up the stairs just for that extra feeling of safety – check. 

The Eldest said his goodbyes and I left. An odder feeling I am yet to feel.

I’d no sooner parked than my phone rang. It was he. Bugger. I gingerly answered fearing something, not sure what, but something. It was something.

“Hiya” say I all casual like yet holding my breath in case he was mid panic attack and I was a mile up the road so could do diddly squat about it “you ok?”

“Yeah. You know the dog?”

“Yes, we’ve met” I breathed big breaths of calm. 

“Well. He started to cough and something wierd came up”

“Oh” this is not good, The Eldest doesn’t do weird bodily excretions “right, just leave it there, close your bedroom door on it and go watch a bit of tele, I’ll not be long”

“Yeah, that’s what I did. You can get it when you come home”

Lovely. I was looking forward to it.

“The dog’s still coughing”

“Is he alive?” I ask.

Wouldn’t that be fecking marvellous? The dog drops dead when only The Eldest is home!

“Yeah, he’s alive”

Bollocks. Next time maybe. 

“Right, shut him in his room and ignore him till he goes away”

“Ok, see you in a bit”

For the love of biscuits! The first time he’s been left and the dog, his protector, was an utter twat. I’d only been gone a few minutes. FFS!

Then, like a breath of fresh loveliness, The Youngest appeared.

“Hello there, did you have a good time at art club?”

“No, it wasn’t art club, it was gardening club”

No it wasn’t. The children that go to gardening club need their wellies, I hadn’t sent her in with her wellies.

“We’re you meant to have your wellies then?”

“Yes and grey clothes”

Oh dear God, she looked bothered. 

“Oh I’m so sorry, what on earth was I thinking? I’m the worlds worst mother!”

“No, you’re not” she didn’t sound convinced. 

“Was it ok? Do you want to do gardening club?”

“Yeah it was ok, it might be fun”

Might be? Poor little sod.

How in hell did I do that? Did I pay for gardening club? Did she say gardening club all those weeks ago but I heard art? Or, did I pay for art club and the school cocked up? 

Not that it matters either way. As half hours go that one was beyond shit. Mumming is hard, being one of my children harder but they rise to the challenge daily and without complaint, they’re fabulous at being mine.

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Cherry Brandy Ice Lolly.

I take gazillions of pictures of my children, my phone ever poised lest I miss something. My memory is terrible, I have friends that remember more of my life than I do, hence I dread not documenting everything as I know it will disappear forever almost immediately.

So, imagine my horror when recently I was caught, phoneless, having a moment.

We were away for the weekend and The Youngest and I were off to a park she’d spotted the night before. In all my years on this planet I’d never been so bored. Children can make friends at the park, something that is frowned upon if one is 46. Eventually, after a good 40 minutes of me whinging, she agreed to go for a walk.

Lovely. We went to the shop and bought a bucket and spade, two water pistols, because I daren’t buy her one without thinking of her brother, and snacks. The Youngest picked an ice cream that she never did eat and I had a cherry brandy ice lolly. Who knew they were still about? It was amazing despite reminding me that I last had one as a kid and I’m not a kid any more. It was delicious and depressing all at once, a peculiar sensation. Anyhoo.

The Youngest loves water, is drawn to water, so it wasn’t long before she was waist deep in sea. We had nothing useful with us, no towels, no spare clothes and nobody to guard my bag. Oh what was I to do? There were two options available to me.

1. Make the now half soggy Loon get out and spoil her fun.

Or.

2. Get in with her.

We’d just showered, we were clean, we were dry and we were going in. Bugger.

I started by just pulling my trousers up to the knee but Loon was farther in than knee high.

“Come on mum”

There was only one thing for it. Up to my neck I went. The sea was beyond cold and it tasted like shite, really salty shite. When was the last time I’d swam in the North Sea? Blimey, probably not since I’d last eaten a cherry brandy ice lolly, many many yonks ago.

I loved it. The Youngest loved it. We went to where our belongs lay unprotected against thieves or, more likely, dogs and unwrapped the water pistols. I’ve not laughed that hard in a while. We were wetting ourselves, literally, and nobody knew. Water pistol fights in the sea, I cannot recommend these enough.

All the while my phone was in my bag on the beach which saddened me far more than is normal. I was the most relaxed I’d been probably since the last time I swam in the sea and ate a cherry brandy ice lolly, so since I was a kid. I didn’t want to get out, not ever.

On our soggy stroll back we were still giggling.

“I can’t believe I did that!” said I to the Loon.

“But you did mummy, I’m so proud of you!”

She must have been because she stopped some folks to tell them.

“Is that a girl or a boy?” The Youngest asked the mother of a passing toddler.

“He’s a boy”

“Ah. I see. We’ve been swimming in the sea” she bragged.

They, the mum, the nan and the toddler, all look at me as I dripped in front of them.

“Yes. I didn’t know we were going swimming” chuckled I.

“We’re all wet. We didn’t have towels but mummy did it anyway. I’m so proud of her!” she was beside herself.

I told The Youngest that it had been the best day ever and I meant it too. I learnt something that day. I learnt to leave my phone alone. I desperately wanted to go get it so I could take a watery selfie but the desire to stay and be shot was greater.

I also learnt that The Youngest knows better how to live than I, all my years of experience and I’m getting this life malarkey all wrong. Why be dry and warm and bored when you can be cold and damp and happy?

The next day The Eldest decided that he’d quite like a swim in the sea. I tried to talk someone else into going in because I had run out of clothes but no, there were no takers.

“So is no-one going in? Well, I’ve always wanted to be a grown up but not any more. When do grown ups stop having fun?” The Eldest pondered.

Yes, when? What age was I when I became all serious? I bought some shorts and went in. I was braver the second time around, straight in I went and I loved it again. The Eldest loved it, The Youngest loved it and I loved that they loved it and they loved that I loved it. We had a blast.

Still didn’t get a photo though. Not one of us in the sea that is. I did get one of the cherry brandy ice lolly though.