Tag Archives: food

The Teenager Returns …

backA flurry of texts, a bus journey cancelled due to an international rugby match, a friend’s car pressed into service over the Severn Bridge:

The Teenager arrived home from University for a gathering of sixth form friends on Saturday night.

And suddenly, there he was, towering in our little cottage doorway.

The Teenager had returned, albeit for a quick overnight stay. We hugged, or rather, I did, The Teenager a bit embarrassed. And tired. And hungry.

Much the same as when he was much younger, his first word was ‘food!’ He raided the fridge (‘Cheesy Strings!), the freezer (pizza!), the cupboards (bars and crisps!!), as intent as a locust. Finally sated, we chatted. A very fast, very convoluted catch up before he jumped up, ‘Shower! OMG, a dry towel! Shampoo! OMG, Loo roll!’

Many wet towels later, accompanied by blasting music from his phone, he popped back downstairs to get to know our cat again. And eat more pizza and protein bars. He told me that one of his best friends also has a mum with MS and I’m overwhelmed with happiness that they can support each other.

‘Mum, it’s weird, but it’s just weird, like very weird being back in my bedroom, very weird. You know?’

‘Yep, must be … strange?’


He wolfed down his pizza, slurped the rest of his drink and jumped up again. Before I knew it, he was dressed to impress and ready to leave.

The next morning, I woke up to a stack of bar wrappers, empty cans, wet towels and the fan in the bathroom still chugging away. The TV was frozen on ‘Match Of The Day’. I got on with paperwork, one eye on the clock for his return journey to Bristol.

At 3pm, I knocked his door.

‘Muuuuuum. Hiya! I’m fine, but leave me … it’s my double bed. It’s amaaaaazing.’ He made snow-angels underneath his American flag duvet, but I nagged him (how I’ve missed it!), and he showered, changed and was ready to go back to Uni.

I drove him in to town, dropped him at his bus stop and watched in my rear view mirror as he got on to the coach. He’s going to be ok.

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Peace. At Last.

peaceWell, the trauma of last week is fading.

One email sent to school, one passport sent in for half-term trip, one mea culpa parent. Sorted.

Me and The Teenager had A Talk. I explained (again) that my brain has taken early retirement and sometimes doesn’t want to play ball, but he’s also got a responsibility to be on top of school stuff too, i.e. don’t remind me five minutes before a meeting. I guess he’s just used to me remembering everything and it was a shock to his system. Bless him.

Anyway, he has now gone off for the weekend on a mentoring break in West Wales with the school, to support him through his exams.

We packed his bag last night, he charged up his phone (‘I am nuffink without it’), and laid out his clothes ready for his early start – 6 am this morning, lol.

I don’t have a megaphone, so I just yelled in his ear at the set time. He grunted, turned over and went back to sleep. Repeated five minutes later and he lumbered to the bathroom, complaining loudly and slamming the door.

So far, so good. Drove him to drop-off at appointed early hour (don’t get out the car with me, s’embarrassing and do not hug me’), then heard nothing by text. No news is good news?

A text a couple of hours later, ‘food is grim here’.

Then another, ‘beds are too small’.

And another, ‘wanna come home’.

In the meantime, I have been catching up with the laundry, catching up with food shopping and most importantly, getting out into the real world and catching up with a good friend over coffee, where I boasted, ‘oh, he’s fine, I haven’t heard anything’.

So now I am at home, pacing, waiting for a phone call from one of the teachers. Something along the lines of, ‘please drive fifty miles to West Wales and pick up your son. Now‘.

Probably just as well I had planned nothing more exciting this evening than highlighting programmes I want to watch in next week’s Radio Times. And sorting through The Teenager’s growing collection of odd socks.

Life goes on. I now have even more post-it notes cluttering my table, reminding me of every single tiny thing, just in case I forget again:

  • Petrol – buy some.
  • Saturday Guardian newspaper – buy and read the Blind Date article.
  • Call tax office – next week.
  • Teenager goes to New York for school trip in two weeks – check weather forecast.
  • Take library books back – overdue?

Another text from The Teenager, ‘I feel sick’.

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Doing The Big Shop

In a bid to get my routine back on track, I got up early yesterday to go for the Big Shop. I can’t seem to plan a week ahead though, so I normally just buy some  meat, vegetables, pasta and rice and cobble meals together on a day-to-day basis, always having to buy extra ingredients each day.

One of my first symptoms of MS was being unable to plan anything at all. My brain just would not compute basic things and I got confused easily. Food shopping was a nightmare. I would stand and stare at the rows of food, unable to decide what I needed and end up grabbing random things and chucking them in my trolley. I couldn’t even follow simple recipes so we lived off baked potatoes and microwave meals for a long while.

But, I was upbeat and optimistic. If I stuck to the basics, I couldn’t go wrong. I parked up, glared at the builder’s van taking up two disabled spaces and marched into the store. I wandered up and down the aisles, panic rising. So many special offers, so many meal deals. Three things for a tenner, five things for a tenner, buy one, get one half price. And Christmas carols playing in the background.

I could feel my brain melting. As I circled the aisles again and again, I couldn’t choose anything. Deep breath. Get some salmon. Get a big bag of potatoes, some carrots, few tins of tuna. Stand for ages in front of the ten pound meal deal. Two starters, two mains, one dessert. Mathematical equation. Is it me or is it hot in here?

Finally, I make it to the till where the checkout woman chucks my food through so fast, I get nervous, drop things, can’t pack the bags. Hands don’t want to hold anything today, but mission is finally accomplished. When I get home, I stagger into the house, laden with bags, rain pouring down and trip over the cat.

It’s bizarre how the most simple, taken-for-granted tasks can become an assault course when you have MS. I was planning to make cottage pie for dinner, but the recipe is confusing the hell out of me and I forgot the Worcestershire sauce…

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