by Bron | October 1, 2013 8:06 pm
In 2008, the week before my daughter Jade started Year 12, her final year at school, we went to the Gold Coast. She was a single kid with a single mother, so when we were packing, we also packed one of her best friends. My playmate was wine, hers was Eloise. I think that’s pretty fair.
We rented this great apartment, right on the surf at Broadbeach. The girls had one end of the joint, and I had the other. We would meet up in the kitchen once or twice a day for food and cuddles, but primarily it was so I could hand over cash.
On the Thursday night, I’d taken them to dinner at some rancidly expensive place. During the meal, they met up with some friends who warbled on about having a “gathering” at their place later that night. On bended knees the girls begged for the opportunity to partake in this quasi-adult function that would include boys, alcohol and loud music, in the order that makes me feel most comfortable.
All I cared for was that an adult was present. The mum in this group nodded sagely and informed me that all would be well above board and well supervised. I was well happy.
Off trot these pubescent 16 year olds, in their impossibly short shorts and their impossibly long hair, filled with the excitement and trepidation that you can only feel at 16 when you’ve been given a modicum of freedom and there’s a sniff of boy.
And off trotted I, wearing my three-quarter grandma shorts that cover all manner of post-40 sins, and carrying a fresh bottle of sav blanc, filled with the excitement and trepidation that you can only feel at 42 when you’re a full time single mum and you’ve been given the night off.
Curfew was 11pm. At 11.05pm, I heard the key in the lock. In bounced these two gorgeous girls, texting furiously, giggling continuously and gushing non-stop. “Oh Mum, it was sooooooooooooo much fun” and “Oh Mum, you should have seen this boy that was there” and “Oh Mum, I think Midori is the best drink in the world, have you tried it with lemonade?”
Happy to see safely home the two precious angels who were under my protective wings, I kissed them both lightly, and headed for my bed. After all, I’d made best friends with a bottle of sav blanc and I needed a new best friend. My bed.
About 4am, my bladder woke me, as it is prone to do when you drink that much wine and are over 40 and have given birth. A quick stop in my ensuite loo, then my mothering instinct kicked in and I opened the girls’ bedroom door to make sure they were covered and that the wind wasn’t blowing the room to pieces.
No girls in the bed. Not to worry. They’re probably on the veranda. I remember at that age, my girlfriends and I would stay up all night playing our Leif Garrett records and stealing my parents sherry.
No girls on the veranda. Not to worry. They’re probably down by the pool. I remember at that age, my girlfriends and I having sleepovers, and sneaking into the backyard to converse with the moon while we drank my parents sherry.
No girls by the pool. Or in the bbq area. Or in the driveway. I even had the temerity to check if my car was still there. By this stage, I couldn’t let anything pass me by.
So I rang Jade. And bless her, she answered straight away. And of course, they’d snuck back to the fabulous party to look at the fabulous boy and were hoping that the empty bottle of wine they saw in the bin would see me through to 7am.
How wrong they were.
They came home immediately and knew that they were in some pretty serious trouble. They both begged me not to tell their fathers because they said they’d get grounded for life. Neither of them had the slightest inkling at how frightened I had been. They had not thought if something bad happened to Eloise, that I would be the one ringing her mother to pass on the tragic news. That I hadn’t gone through nine months of pregnancy and nine years of being a single mother to lose my precious girl on a stupid whim.
And my point is this, because you know that all my stories end up having a point – at that point in time, if I had One Direction tickets in my possession, I would have whacked them onto ebay without a single thought. Probably at a 50% discounted rate.
A fitting punishment for a fitting crime.
But I didn’t have One Direction tickets. The One Direction boys were still in utero back then.
I didn’t want to take away her mobile phone, because I wanted her to have it so I could call her.
I didn’t want to cut our holiday short because it was my holiday as well, and I wanted the last four days of sun and sand and surf before the real world and my office job beckoned.
I didn’t want to ring Eloise’s mum and ask her to come and pick up her daughter, because then Jade would look to me for entertainment for our remaining four days, and frankly, I love her more than anything, but 24/7 is a bit too much.
So instead I gave them a very stern lecture, brought up stories of Anita Cobby and Schapelle Corby, expressed the love that I held for them, and locked them inside the apartment for two days while I went out and enjoyed the shops, the food and the surf.
So to the mum who sold her daughter’s One Direction tickets, you have my vote lady.
You have my vote.
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