Last weekend, The Teenager spent his first night Alone At Home.
I was off to an MS Society meeting as a Council member, in Carmarthen, 64 whole miles away.
I planned to stay overnight on the Friday as we’d arranged to hook up with local peeps connected to MS that evening, before the meeting on Saturday.
So far so good.
Would The Teenager manage to hold the fort, feed the cat, lock the doors and hang up his towels for 24 hours without parental supervision? Worth a shot?
It started well: I’d booked an early train, smug in the knowledge that I could read my book whilst sipping a cup of coffee and admiring the beautiful coastal scenery from my reserved table seat next to the window.
The previous train was cancelled so when mine pulled up, it was a free-for-all. Elbows, swear words and shoving. I somehow pushed my way to my seat (now fully occupied, natch) and started to cry. Honestly. I went red, stuttered and pleaded. I explained the MS and nerve pain and I sat down in the vacated seat, embarrassed and humiliated.
Almost two hours later, I arrived, dragged my case and headed for a taxi. The hotel was up a steep hill and half a mile away, the sun was blazing and I was close to collapsing. Long story short, I was refused a taxi; my journey was too short. I offered to pay a tip. I explained the MS. Again. I was still refused.
Reader, I thought I was going to die. It took me almost an hour to stagger to the hotel. I stopped numerous times, heat intolerance bearing down, my legs yelling in pain. I arrived at the hotel eventually and crumpled in a heap at the reception desk. Not the best start.
Anyway, The Teenager. Throughout my epic journey, he’d been texting me:
‘Where’s my goalkeeper gloves?’
‘Can I order a game off Amazon? Got your credit card saved :-)’
‘It’s on offer :-)’
‘You know when I go to the Reading Festival, can I have some spending money?’
‘Can you transfer £1.28 to my account so I can buy a calendar for my phone?’
Back at the hotel, after lying down for an hour, I had a brilliant evening and went to bed looking forward to breakfast in the morning; there’s something about hotel breakfasts, with their mini pots of jam and rubbery scrambled eggs.
The next morning, I checked in with The Teenager:
‘Morning! Have you fed the cat?’
‘Nah. She’s dead.’
A bit later;
‘Mum. Ok if I have some friends over for breakfast?’
‘As long as you clean up. How many?’
‘We only have a tiny house?’
Our meeting went well and I packed my things together ready to go home. My phone beeped:
‘Oh yeah, I’m going to go for a world record’.
‘Most chicken nuggets eaten in 3 minutes.’
‘The current record is 31.’
‘I did 20 in 1:10.’
‘You looking forward to having a record-breaking son?’
What could I say? I got home, aired the lingering smell of bacon, eggs and beans and was greeted by a very-alive cat.
p.s. a follow-up – BBC Wales picked up the story of the taxi refusal and reported it here. Also, Carmarthenshire Council have traced the driver through CCTV and will be inviting him in for an interview …