Real life: ‘He’s not my boyfriend, he’s my son’

You’ll never guess how old Pamela Jay is…

Now (UK) - - COME ON IN... -

Take a look at this photo. At first glance you prob­a­bly think, like most peo­ple, that it’s a pic­ture of a cou­ple – prob­a­bly in their late 20s, maybe early 30s at most. But the truth couldn’t be more dif­fer­ent. You see, the man I’m pos­ing with isn’t my part­ner – he’s my son. And, I’m 32 years his se­nior.

Of course, at 56, I can’t help but get a lit­tle boost when­ever some­one thinks I’m young enough to be his girl­friend. But I owe my youth­ful ap­pear­ance to my good genes – and my mum’s good ad­vice.

Grow­ing up, back in the 1970s, when there wasn’t as much fo­cus on clean eat­ing, Mum still made sure I ate healthily – so while my friends were snack­ing on choco­late and crisps, it was fruit and veg­eta­bles that filled our fridge. And, ev­ery night, af­ter Mum had ex­fo­li­ated her own face, she’d slather co­conut oil on to my skin and hair un­til I was glis­ten­ing. At the time, I re­mem­ber think­ing it was a chore, but Mum in­sisted. ‘You’ll thank me one day,’ she laughed.

She was right. By the time I was 16, I’d never even had a pim­ple. But, back then, look­ing younger than my friends wasn’t such a pos­i­tive thing – no mat­ter how much make-up I trow­elled on, or how I dressed, there was no chance of me sneaking into the pub, or an 18 film at the cinema.

And, even as I reached my 20s and started work­ing full-time as a sales as­sis­tant, I still looked like a teenager – so much so that, out at bars, men years younger would ap­proach me. The idea of dat­ing some­one younger didn’t ap­peal, so they never had much luck!

Then, aged 31, I got into a re­la­tion­ship, and just 18 months later, in July 1993, I dis­cov­ered I was preg­nant. Although it was a shock, we were both so pleased.

Like most moth­er­sto-be, I waited for a huge bump to ap­pear. But, by eat­ing healthily – lots of avo­cado, spinach, fresh fish and lean meat – my body didn’t change much. I still fit­ted into my size 8 jeans. And, by mois­tur­is­ing ev­ery day I didn’t get any stretch marks. I gave birth to

‘Even in my 20s, I still looked like a teenager’

Mar­ley in March 1994, and tak­ing in his tiny hands and chubby cheeks, I was in love.

Of course, with a new­born, life sud­denly be­came a lot more hec­tic. And, by the time Mar­ley had started nurs­ery, I was a sin­gle mum. Although, I made sure to keep up with my skin­care rou­tine, to make it out of the house on time to drop him off, it was all I could do to slick on some lippy and a flick of mas­cara.

Hold­ing back the years

As Mar­ley got older and started school, I was near­ing my 40s. But the other mums at the gates didn’t see it. ‘You must have had him young,’ they’d ex­claim, but when I told them I gave birth at 32 they couldn’t be­lieve it and asked me my se­cret. I think they must have ex­pected me to have had cos­metic surgery or say I spent hours get­ting ready, but my an­swer was al­ways the same – co­conut oil, a healthy diet, drink­ing lots of wa­ter.

And in 2006, aged 44, I started do­ing yoga and go­ing to the gym. Friends told me I was look­ing bet­ter in my 40s than I did in my 20s and 30s, and they weren’t the only ones who thought it.

In 2010, aged 48 I was buy­ing a train ticket when the clerk asked me for my Young Per­son’s Rail­card! But it’s not just my face that’s youth­ful – my out­look al­ways has been, too. Even when Mar­ley was a teenager, he’d (some­what be­grudg­ingly!) ad­mit I was a ‘cool’ mum. It was high praise. But I told him all my time spent laugh­ing with him has helped keep the years at bay. We’ve al­ways been the best of friends.

Reach­ing the big 5-0

And, when I turned 50 in Au­gust 2012, Mar­ley, then 18, and I went to New York to cel­e­brate. Be­ing just the two of us, we found it dif­fi­cult to take pho­tos, but af­ter spot­ting an­other tourist with a fancy

cam­era we asked him if he’d take our photo and he of­fered to email it to us. Three months later, the email pinged into my in­box, ‘Here’s the pic­ture I took of you and your boyfriend,’ it read. I was stunned. I was used to peo­ple say­ing I looked young, but not as young as my teenage son! I showed Mar­ley the email – he didn’t mind, in fact he found it funny. ‘Ei­ther I look re­ally old, or you look re­ally young, Mum,’ he told me. But not long af­ter, it hap­pened again, this time when one of his friends spot­ted us at the su­per­mar­ket and thought I was Mar­ley’s new girl­friend.

Since then I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve been con­fused for a cou­ple, but ev­ery time it hap­pens I just laugh – and silently re­mind my­self to call my own mum and thank her!

Pamela had Mar­ley in her 30s

Pamela, 56, is of­ten mis­taken to be the girl­friend of her 24-year-old son, Mar­ley

Then 26

Now 56

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.