The Teenager is off to the Reading Music Festival.
He left with a huge amount of stuff a couple of hours ago. Early tickets.
If I read those sentences again, I sound almost casual.
Believe me, I’m not.
After 17 years (he only turned 17 last Sunday), he will be without anyone looking after him for 5 nights. Five whole days and nights. Oh, the possibilities.
The planning has been months in the making: the gear – tent, groundsheet, sleeping bag, super-duper mobile charger. I shelled out for a locker. Plus part-payment towards a gazebo when he’s there. The wellies, the thick socks. The sun cream.
Last night, he asked me if I could pack his bag if he put everything he was taking on my bed. Yeah, no worries. I’m the master of packing.
I got upstairs and surveyed the room-full of stuff to fit into a tiny bag. Out went the white t-shirts (really?), the jeans, the fourth pair of shorts, the shower gel, the toothpaste. I jumped on the bag and closed it. The wellies were non-negotiable.
In work yesterday I had a text;
‘Urgent, need funds for haircut’
‘You got your hair cut last week?’
‘Not Reading-fresh? Please?’
So, he had his hair razored. With a bit at the front, strangely reminiscent to those 80’s Aha haircuts? Anyway, we ran through the Parental Lecture. It started easily enough,
‘… son, Chris …’
‘Mum, I know what you’re going to say, and I, like, take it on board.’
‘… but …’
‘No, it’s fine …’
‘… but …’
‘Can I just say it?’
‘Mum. I know. No drugs, no women. Got it.’
‘Women? Who said anything about women?’
Anyway, he got the bus to town earlier and met up with nineteen other friends who will be sharing the gazebo.
I had a think, after taking some deep breaths. I should be proud? I should marvel at his desire to be unwashed and dazed for five nights. To worry that someone will steal his groundsheet?
I can’t talk. Shortly after turning sixteen, I took my backpack and tramped around Norway, The Shetlands and The Orkney Islands for six weeks. Without nineteen friends. All on my own.
And I came back almost unscathed.
Maybe I should just text him, see if he’s eating properly?