MUM & ME
Jane is regretful, while Bryony is full of surprises
It is weeks since Bryony last asked me if I could have Edie to stay and it’s beginning to worry me because she starts big school next month ( good heavens how time flies!). I know this milestone in Edie’s life is weighing heavily on Bryony, as she tries to balance precious time with her daughter with meeting the daunting deadline for her new book. But, entirely selfishly, it is also disturbing me because the days when my granddaughter could spend whole weeks staying with me are over and – more than ever – I am regretting my move from London.
Edie’s bedroom in my cottage – too far away for a school-night sleepover – is empty; the toy box is shut, the blinds are pulled down and the only occupants of the bed (apart from the occasional visit from Catty) are a pile of dolls.
Edie was just a baby when I moved from my home in Battersea – nipping-in distance from Bryony – to my seemingly idyllic little house in Oxfordshire, and one of the main motivations behind my relocation was the idea of giving my granddaughter somewhere she could run free in the countryside close to her cousins. I fancifully imagined all three of my grown-up children, with partners and friends, descending on me most weekends to enjoy Sunday lunches, long country walks and quality family time.
In reality, of course, moving away was never going to bring my children closer to me. I now think that I would be a much more supportive mother – and grandmother – if I was still living down the road (or a bus ride away) from Bryony, Naomi and Rufus.
And this general feeling of having let my children down is exacerbated by the thought of Bryony taking Edie for her first day at big school. Because I realise that back in 1984 – when Bryony took her first steps into full-time education – my own mother (who lived 10 minutes away from me) was a daily source of support when I most needed it. Regrets? I have more than a few…
I now think that I would be a more supportive mother if I was still living down the road