I will never forget hollering to my Mum aged 17: “Sex is, like, the most natural thing in the world. You need to chill out about this stuff. It’s nature.”
So much cringe in one sentence, I can’t bear it.
How the tables have turned: I’d like to think I’m going to be a breezy, Missoni kaftan-wearing, Bolly-swilling mother who points a perfectly Shellac-ed finger to the dedicated teen loft space and say, ‘have fun kids, I’m going out OUT” as Mae’s teenage mates gawp at my effortless coolness and want to be me. I’d draw the line at MILF references – too crass.
But now I’m fully ensconced in Project Procreation, I am more likely to be the frenzied seagull in Finding Nemo: “Mine, mine, mine, don’t you-dare-even-lay-a-finger-on-her, mine”. I might even ring up potential beaus and explain I’m a Roman Catholic and that sex before marriage is generally managed in our family with a quick Tweet across Mother Pukka socials about how small your pecker is. (Too much.) But in short, it will be less Eddie and Pats, more Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.
It’s much like those pre-splash down months where you say things like, “I don’t want to be one of those parents who [insert patronising comment that soon gets banished within seconds of urchin arrival]”.
Like all things where we get a bit smug, there’s always a moment where you come crashing back to Earth and realise that you are just another dung beetle hauling that prized turd up a hill.
So there I was, a mildly twatty teen/twenty-something who ‘didn’t need parents, really’ – a smugness that was eradicated the minute Mae entered centre stage like a mewling little vole in need of EVERYTHING. Within minutes, I realised that I was a parental shambles, a massive sham and went crying back to my Mum with two leaky boobs and an insatiable appetite for her chocolate roulade cake.
Had I listened to her back then (the not having sex thing), I would not have been in this pickle, of course.
But here we are and from her showing me how to whack the kid on my Jaffa cake-like nips early doors to taking charge of child-min like teeth/ hair/ doctor and forms (ALL the forms), I not only need her in my life, I want her in my life and after two decades of fighting it (and her), it’s a relief to be able to admit that.
So here she is, my Mum, Dutch-born Lucia Maria Cornelia Josephina Whitehouse. (Roman Catholic name – middle names all nuns at her convent, natch). She’s a woman who never had brakes on her bike and a woman who always serves up the shitty, crusty, burnt bit of lasagne for herself, leaving the rest of us with the best slabs.
I have much to learn.
Wall: by artist Atma at The Northcote Arms, Leyton