Today I am taking part in a special blog carnival hosted by Trouble doubled. This is a fun idea where everyone who enters is muddled up so you have a different post on your blog and your post ends up somewhere else entirely, a bit like a blogging swinging party, but without the actual swinging hopefully. So put your keys in the bowl, grab a Margarita and enjoy this post by By Emma Lee-Potter House With No Name who is on the other side of parenthood. I’m hoping she says it all gets easier as they get older…
Reading blogs about babies and young children makes me nostalgic for the days when my two were little.
My daughter’s a sophisticated 20-year-old student now, while my son’s an independent-minded 17. They’re both way taller than me and my 6ft 4in son has a habit of jokily patting me on the head when I’m trying to get him to do his homework.
The pair of them are both grown ups really, but their characters haven’t changed that much over the years. And it seems no time at all since the days when my daughter wore pinafore dresses and Mary Jane shoes and my son had such white blond hair that a charming old Frenchman told me “that hair will keep you in your old age.”
Like all the best-loved clichés, it’s true that your children’s childhoods fly past in an instant. One moment you never have a minute to yourself (Jill Murphy’s Five Minutes’ Peace, where a mum is desperate to sneak five minutes in a lovely, bubble-filled bath, struck such a chord with me). The next, in the blink of an eye, 20 years have whizzed past and you have all the time in the world on your hands. There are no sleepless nights (well, apart from the ones when you lie awake worrying what time they’re going to be home), no mad scramble to find book bags and packed lunches on school mornings and no arguments about clothes.
Last week, my daughter was busy at university, my son was on a snowboarding holiday and my husband was on a work trip in the Far East. Me? I was home alone. I had articles to write, books to review and blogs to post but somehow I just couldn’t settle. It was so odd to be rattling around on my own that I played Laura Marling at top volume to fill the silence, texted my daughter a bit too much and went to bed early every night.
But even though I love looking back to the days when I was involved in every detail of their lives, having teenagers in the house is fun. My two keep me up to date with everything from music (though I’m not totally convinced about my daughter’s passion for Dubstep) to scary biking videos on YouTube.
Even more useful, their IT know-how is second to none. When I got a new computer recently I didn’t have to lift a finger. They unpacked the box, set it up in ten minutes flat and then typed out an idiot’s guide for their techno-dinosaur mum to follow. My daughter’s a brilliant proofreader and checks my blogs for typos, while my son is a whizz at trouble-shooting my daily computer crises.
Not only that, my daughter’s passed her driving test so if she’s not going out herself (admittedly it’s rare) she’ll come and pick us up after a night out. She’s home for her reading week right now so tomorrow night she¹s doing the shopping and cooking supper for everyone.
Best of all, teenagers and twenty-somethings are great company. After hours of sitting round the kitchen table drinking coffee together, I’m very clued up about New Wave French films, the origins of Aerogel and the hippest designers at London Fashion Week. Whether I’ll ever have the chance to make use of this newfound information is doubtful, but I’m proud all the same.