"MUM, can you get my washing out of the machine
and hang it up?" my daughter Ashley asked at the weekend. She is 27 years
old and still lives at home as a self employed comic and writer. It's good fun.
My husband and I had made all sorts of plans for our
50s. We love travelling. Toronto, the Netherlands and Los Angeles are just some
of the destinations we have visited in the past with my comedy act, but we were
going to do so much more.
These plans have been scuppered, as Ashley doesn't
like her dad going with me. He is her full-time father and she is not about to
let that go.
Underneath her pretend adult facade is a wee girl
who likes having her daddy around.
I inevitably end up going on tour alone, husband
stays at home and Ashley commandeers all his attention.
Ashley lives a charmed existence - one that requires
no real decision- making, except which shoes to wear or what kind of shellfish
to have for tea.
I am not underestimating her abilities or work
If only I had had an easy life when I was 27 years
My mother died when I was 21 and I accepted her
death and assumed I didn't need a mammy anymore. In my head, I was all the
woman I was ever going to be. How wrong I was, and still am. I was just a child
playing at being an adult.
I was already six years married at 27 years old. I was
a mother, managed a bar and a home. I was just a kid, yet I dealt with wee
drunk Glaswegians who spent ages trying to figure out if you liked King Billy
or the Pope.
Sometimes they challenged you to a boxing match or
sex - it depended on the day, really. You learned skills you never knew you
had, like speaking Spanish to confuse them or being handy with a bleach spray.
Life in the bar was hard work, especially in
Glasgow's tough East End. I am sure Ashley would have coped admirably, though I
am glad she didn't have to go through such experiences.
We left the bar when she was eight, and by then she
had seen enough scary stuff to ensure a few years in therapy when she reaches
Her CV is mainly performing in comedy. She had a
"one-woman" show at the age of 13 on the Edinburgh Fringe and went on
to help run a comedy club in Glasgow at the age of 15.
We both had very different job experiences in our
youth. I did work she would hate and she entered a career that I would never
have dared to step into or had the confidence to carry off at that age.
But, despite her admirable self-assurance, she is
not leaving home.
I encourage her to stay within my wee nest. Having a
child at home, despite her full formed adulthood, means I get to be a mother
for all time, no date-expiration on my parenting skills.
I am needed, I am wanted and my child is nurtured
and loved. Empty-nest syndrome will not be added to the litany of my mid-life crisis
I still check on her as she sleeps, I ensure she has
her breakfast and I grump contentedly as I fold up her freshly laundered
clothes and lay them on her bed.
I suppose I will have to adjust quickly when she
starts bringing guys over to stay. Maybe that will be the time when her bags
are packed and she learns how to pay a phone bill.
Then husband and I will finally get jiggy on the
sofa at teatime, run naked through the house and play Jackson Browne on full
blast without the Iphone plug being ripped out of the wall.
I am looking forward to that golden age, but who
will show me how to download music without crashing the PC, cook bread that
doesn't taste like a raffia mat or apply eye-shadow that won't make me look
like a victim of domestic abuse?
I suppose I have to conclude that there are skills I
still need to learn - and letting go of my child is only one of them.
Maybe next year? Meanwhile her Star Trek fanaticism
drives me nuts.
I AM sick to death of Star Trek episodes. My husband
and Ashley, love everything sci-fi and I grit my teeth through every show.
To me, every episode has the same format.
Each week, the crew let some sexually alluring woman
on to the ship and the visitor turns everyone into a tree and then they finally
expose her as a Cardassian death lord and, by the end of the show, they all
agree to never let that happen again. Of course, the next week they invite yet
another scantily clad woman aboard!
Ashley screamed: "Mum, there has never been an
episode where people get turned into a tree! I checked, so shut up!"
To make matters worse, Ashley wants to buy her dad
the entire box set of Star Trek: Voyager.
I am going to go live under the sea.
So thanks for reading, if you want follow me on
twitter @JaneyGodley for updates.