Tuesday 1 September 2009

Four Days Till 16 Year Old Son Leaves Home

Only four days left. He got his GCSEs and did well enough, and has got into college in London, where he will live. My wonderful sister in law is giving him board and lodging, and so he will lope off into the sunset with a few (poetic licence. He will take a pantechnicon) belongings in a hanky on a stick over his shoulder snarling his way out of the front door, to his lovely aunt where he will say Hello Aunty, Can I Make You A Cup Of Tea? And he will give her a list of rules and regulations for his stay and tell her that his mother doesn't understand him.

I love my children. I love them in that hopelessly optimistic way, where you can't see that they are anything but temporarily ghastly. At any time. I think Oh, but underneath, this child is lovely. Underneath and behind all that scorn and arrogance, is a sweet child, one that I understand because it is my child and I raised it. So as the days go by, 16 Year Old Son is more and more excited about his new life and less and less inclined to co operate in the one he is leaving behind. I will drive him to my sister in law on Friday, and even though he won't speak to me or be in the same room as me at the moment, I thought of buying some Cadbury Chocolate Eclair sweets and putting them in his bags. Which are not packed yet. It will, he says fiercely, take him five minutes. Oh I think. I once thought that time had no meaning too, and that everything I thought in my head would magically happen without me having to lift a finger. I didn't buy the chocolate eclairs, but not for the reason you think. I didn't buy them because I feared I would have to eat them myself and he would never know he could have had a suprise pack of sweeties. If his mother hadn't found herself locked in her bedroom behind the chair mouth glued shut with chocolate toffee eclaires, cheeks bulging like a hamster. Perhaps I am not so profound as I imagine.

Now, in the studio, I am doing Stuff. Lots of Stuff. I finished the painting of Steve in the bath, a few days before he died. And to show I am full of mystery, I added 2 yellow plastic ducks and I do not know how on earth I can explain it. It looks bizarre but I am leaving them there. Maybe it is another hint of lack of profundity.

I have been cutting and preparing wood for new paintings. I have an idea for a big triptych involving me and Steve and emptiness. I am thinking it through at the moment, and making sure the surfaces are ready by the end of this week. Sometimes I really don't know what I am doing; there is one side of the studio full of dying and images of loss and grief, and on the other side of the studio are jolly plump angel ladies doing their shopping or being a teapot, or having a makeover. I carry the essense of each set of paintings with me as I cross from one to the other, and find it gives me a much needed balance.

Next week, 12 Year Old Son goes back to school. I have loved having him over the holidays. He has spent much of his time learning card tricks and piano from tutorials on You Tube. He has played football with his team and eaten enough to make him a Mountain Troll. He has disovered Strawberry Nesqick and I am doubling my milk delivery just to keep up with him. A wee hobbit came home for the Summer Hols, and I am sending Hagrid back in September. Except he, Son, isn't really that hairy.

Right. Have left dougnuts in the kitchen for Truly Put Upon 16 Year Old Son, which he will eat with lowered brows and snarls between bites, and only when no one puts doughnuts on the table for him in London, will he start to think his old mum wasn't that bad. Probably not Bad as such, just not Profound.

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