Bry­ony Gor­don

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - MUM AND ME -

37

Mar­ried to a very pa­tient hus­band Harry, and mother to Edie, four

As Mum lies in a hos­pi­tal bed hav­ing an epiphany, I am hav­ing a mini one of my own. Edie has started school and I have re­alised, with sud­den clar­ity, that I am an adult. A grown-up. A proper grown-up at that. Per­haps it’s the com­bi­na­tion of hav­ing a child at school and a mother in hos­pi­tal that I think ac­tu­ally makes me a midult, or a mem­ber of the squeezed mid­dle, or some­thing sim­i­larly ma­ture-sound­ing. Next stop: re­tire­ment.

But se­ri­ously... I think un­til Edie put on her ill-fit­ting school uni­form and hung her book bag off her tiny shoul­ders, I could con­vince my­self I was still play­ing at be­ing a par­ent. That the past four years have all been a dress re­hearsal, re­ally – an ex­tended chance to get used to the fact I have a child. And I still haven’t got it right. When I took her to school on her first day, I went to the wrong play­ground – who knew there was more than one play­ground? – which meant we were late. Turns out it’s not just Edie who needs lessons – it’s me, too. Her teacher was charm­ing and wiped away my tears as I said good­bye, while Edie skipped off hap­pily to the ‘cre­ative cor­ner’, what­ever that is.

On the way out, I found my­self in a group of other sniv­el­ling moth­ers and we all made our way to a nearby café, where, within about five min­utes, I had be­come the cliché of a school mum I had pre­vi­ously loved to hate. (I would call Mum and ask her if this is nor­mal, but she is too high on tra­madol to make any real sense.) You know the type: flat whites, muffins, a long dis­cus­sion about whether or not we should vol­un­teer to be the class rep. The gen­eral con­sen­sus was no, are you mad? To which I could only an­swer: well yes, ac­tu­ally, I am. So why not? It’s the grown-up thing to do, af­ter all, and Mum will be so proud.

Her teacher was charm­ing and wiped away my tears as I said good­bye to Edie

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