Daughter 2 is spending over 2 weeks of her Summer holiday with a friend in Spain and then a further week with her Dad. It suddenly occurred to me that I wasn’t going to see her for almost a month. We should go on a bonding trip before you go, I suggested to her, optimistically. She vaguely agreed it would be a nice idea and we searched our the diary for a suitable time. The only window of opportunity was one day after school. It would give us an hour to bond over shopping until the shops shut and then possibly pizza for tea. With that – there is literally always at least one person overhearing a conversation in this house – two of her sisters insisted that they join us. Daughter 2 was not amused, but there was no stopping them. Those two words: shopping and pizza are like the Holy Grail for teenagers and they weren’t going to miss out.
The list of final items that she needed for the trip abroad seemed to be purchasable at Superdrug. In we all went. Grab a basket, I said (as you do). Three sets of eyes looked at me, completely incredulously. Oh my God, no way! Why would you want to do that? Daughter 2 asked with utmost disdain. Erm…(I wondered what to say, as it seemed pretty obvious to me). I hovered by the baskets. So that you can put the things you want to buy in it? I ventured, tentatively. Three teenagers stared back at me. Why? Why not? I replied. It’s so embarrassing, Daughter 2 continued undeterred. All three girls were now shaking their heads at me. Where are you going to put your items? I questioned, with perfect reasoning. You just hold them in your hands, came the answer and with that, they all disappeared down the first aisle.
I need a new toothbrush, daughter 2 said. I pointed to the travel variety. I’ll have one of those too, daughter 1 decided. The offer on the travel products was 3 for 2. We may as well get something else, daughter 1 suggested, with the sharpness of a keen shopper. There was every toiletry option you could imagine on display. Great swathes of miniature shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, sun creams, toothpastes, cleansers. You know the score. Everything you could possibly need for a holiday. All in cute, little packages. Daughter 2 reached forward: Sudocrem, she declared and grabbed at the familiar red and white tube. Familiar to me because I used to smear it across their arses with impunity several years ago. Now it was my turn to ask, why? What are you going to do with Sudocrem in Spain, that after sun can’t handle? True, she said putting it back and she grabbed a deodorant, adding it to her already rather full hands.
We need a basket, daughter 2 said. I looked at her incredulously. I shook my head. I’m not carrying a basket, I said. It would just be far too embarrassing. She shot me a look.
I waved my I phone confidently over the payment screen. This was only my second successful attempt at using Apple Pay. Up until then, when I tried, I could never get it to work and as the queues would form, I would get more and more flustered and give up. Then the other day, daughter 1 was with me and with the voice of a nursery school teacher showing a small child, she explained that I was holding my phone on the wrong side. Finally, success!
Daughter 2’s bag of holiday goodies sat at the checkout, as she sauntered out the door. Don’t forget your bag! I called to her. Can you carry it? She retorted. Some of the stuff’s yours. One solitary bottle of Radox Muscle Soak was mine, in amongst a mound of her requirements. I’m guessing that it would be mortifying for her should she bump into someone from school carrying a Superdrug bag…I left it there and walked off.
I’m not sure that the trip was quite the bonding trip with her that I had hoped for. One thing I have learnt with kids though, whatever their ages: lower all expectations, but hang on to love…oh and a basket.
If you enjoy my blog, I would be very grateful if you voted for me in the Mumsnet Blogging Awards: Best Writer and best Comic Writer categories. It is a quick one – takes seconds and here’s the link, thank you 🙂http://www.mumsnet.com/events/blogging-awards/2016