Mothers, be careful with those little comments you drop into the conversation each time you see your adult kids (who have left home) and look like they haven’t eaten a square meal that month.
You know the type – How much fruit are you eating? ARE YOU EATING? You’re looking a bit pale, or How firm are your stools? The type that all of us mums just can’t help ourselves from asking.
Well, take my advice and shut the f..ck up, because those comments could come back to haunt you. Such is my fate since I foolishly peered into my son’s fridge and made an innocent comment about his beer diet.
‘Well, I was thinking…’ he replied the other night when he came around to ours for what looked like his first feed this month, (having obviously decided that this was the perfect window of opportunity for some long overdue Mum -manipulation), “that maybe you could deliver me a care package, once a week, for those difficult days leading up to pay day?’
‘What does a care package entail?’ I asked naively.
‘You know…a batch of Shepherd’s Pie, Bubble and Squeak – I’ll even eat your Lasagne if I have to. Something I can knock up easily myself…’ Ie. In his frying pan, which happens to be the only pan in his unit.
‘Perhaps you need to learn some money management,’ I replied wryly, fully aware of how he prioritises the half of his earnings that don’t go on rent.
‘Perhaps you need to remember that you were young once too,’ he reminded me with that twinkle in his eye that he knows makes me melt at the knees.
And he has got a point. I spent a considerable part of my twenties on the Marlboro and hot chip diet, and it’s not like I’ve got anything better to do in between my three jobs and nagging my husband (!). Of course I can sacrifice a few hours a week slaving away in the kitchen to make sure that my twenty-one year old little boy doesn’t waste away.
But just putting this out there – no one bought me care packages.
So, anyway, call me a “Sad-Fuck-Of-A-Helicopter-Parent, but three Shepherds Pies were dutifully delivered to the next suburb on Saturday afternoon, along with step-by-step instructions for how to heat them up. Of course, the old man refused to have any part of what he calls my “pathetic enabling”, although he did mention that if there were any leftovers, he’d have one instead of salmon on our next fish night.
‘Where are my care packages,’ NC grumbled in a text when she sniffed signs of sibling favouritism from the city.
And so, it appears that the old man was right about one thing and wrong about another. He was wrong when he told me that no one really likes my home cooking – as was the dead fox outside our bins all those years ago that I have been reminded about after every one of my cooking fails. But he has been right all of those millions of times when he has said that I will never stop worrying about our kids.
Whereas, he appears to be coping quite admirably.