My poor, poor mother.
How on earth did she lead her life, carrying on as normal when I was on my earliest ‘grown-up’ holidays and deigned only to call once, mid-holiday?
How did she sleep at night, not knowing if I was safe, if my plane had crashed, if I was drinking too much, if I’d been gruesomely attacked, if I’d got lost, if I’d stupidly rented a moped and fallen off, if I’d run out of money, if I’d make some seriously questionable choices?
Can you guess what my eldest daughter is doing now? Can you guess that, at 18, she’s on holiday with her friends at the Spanish resort that my mind keeps reminding me is fondly called ‘Shagaluf’?
I awake each morning with the thought in my head, “Has she got back to her hotel ok?” Like many mothers, I have a disgustingly fertile imagination and, as I stretch and take the few steps to the bathroom, I push these terrible pictures of what may have happened to my first born to the back of my head.
I eagerly await that text that may come at any time from around 11am onwards, although may not come till around 3pm, if it’s been a particularly heavy night. Her gravely voice, that of a hardened drinker, on her rare phone calls chills me, but the relief that she has made it safely through another night negates the feelings slightly.
My mind gets a welcome reprieve through the daylight hours when, according to my mind, the worst that might happen is sunburn. At least daylight feels safe – less alcohol and no dark corners where creepy predators lurk. But evening comes around too soon.
But, we’re almost half-way through now – 4 more Spanish nights to endure. I live to see her, smiling and bedraggled, walking through Arrivals towards me. I’ll take her in my arms, like I have done for 18 years, but not for too long.
Got to play it cool. Just like my Mum.