Mothers and daughters

We’ve got down to the last dregs of the summer holiday. The bit where you have to convince people to accept their big sister’s hand-me-down shoes and buy protractors because, like hair bands and pens, no one ever seems to have one no matter how many you buy.

The bit where everyone claims to need a new school bag and where you can’t find any matching socks even though you bought a pack of 10 in June.

I went to a book launch on Friday evening. It was the end of GCSE week and I wanted to take daughter one out to celebrate the end of an era.

The book, Our Country Nurse, was written by mother and daughter team Amy and Sarah Beeson. In the blurb for the event it stated: “Sarah and Amy Beeson are part of intergenerational revolution of women working together from home to create, collaborate and develop their own careers on their own terms whilst caring for young children.

The catalyst was Amy having a baby. Does being classed as a Mumpreneur or having a lifestyle career have a negative effect on professional women or are we part of a new wave of women who are indifferent to labels?” It seemed appropriate to bring daughter one along.

Daughter one loves going to London, it was a good excuse to spend time together and I said I would take her out for a meal.

Our Country Nurse is the last in a trilogy of books about Sarah Beeson’s time as a nurse and later health visitor. The first, The New Arrival, told of Sarah’s early experiences as a nurse in Hackney and was a great read and Our Country Nurse follows it up.

As always, we were running slightly late. I had brought the A-Z and daughter one was looking slightly embarrassed. “No-one uses things like that these days, mum,” she said. When we finally arrived at the Poetry Place in London we were in time for the question and answer session, which covered everything from being a health visitor [Sarah] to Amy’s writing process and being a busy working mum. Amy’s young daughter was also there. It felt like a real family event.

Afterwards we headed into Covent Garden, which was heaving with rugby fans. We found a quieter Pizza Express round the corner. On the menu there was some sort of superbooster salad full of things like quinoa – the kind of things health foodie daughter two is slightly obsessed with.

I texted her a picture of the menu. I noticed daughter two had texted “I love you” to herself from my phone so I texted “ps I do love you”.  Five minutes later I had a message on Whatsapp. “I love you too, but I can’t text”. Daughter two is regularly running out of credit.

Daughter one is great company. We decided to walk through London rather than get the nearest tube so we could look at all the people and buildings.

We arrived home and everyone else was still up. Only son had been planning. He had decided that he and I were going to have a pyjama day together on Sunday. He got it all ready.

He connected our phones side by side so they could recharge together. He put flowers on the table and a blanket on the sofa. Some pens in case I needed to do some work.

The fly swat in case of flies and all the remote controls. He even created a laptop area for us in the corner in case we wanted to break away from a film for some games.

Only son is in an intensive pro-mum phase. Every morning he tells me that he loves me very much and that I am beautiful, although the other day he did say my teeth were a bit yellow. “It’s fine, though, mum, because I think it’s just the sun shining on your teeth. I love you.”

I am not sure I am worthy of this level of devotion. My partner keep asking “what about daddy?”, but only son basically ignores him.

Occasionally he says that he loves him and all his sisters except daughter two. Daughter two and only son have a slightly fractious relationship where she winds him up and he runs around screaming until she pretends to have suffered a dramatic injury and he gets slightly perturbed. “I don’t love daughter two,” he said the other day. Then he whispered into my ear: “I do love her really, mum, but it’s a secret.”

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