I now have a fully formed teenager. A son of 14. A son of 14 with a constantly vibrating phone. A son of 14 with a constantly vibrating phone, a more active social life than me and a better wardrobe.
I have a 14 year old son who grunts for breakfast and spends all his time at home in his bedroom. If he does ever venture forth from his boy-cave you hear him long before you see him, his phone is simultaneously pinging alerts and broadcasting whiny voiced Americans narrating their Call of Duty kill roster. This has its uses. His face is so glued to the screen that the tinny audio works like sonar to stop you becoming parental road kill.
I have produced a typical teenage, Kevin and Perry are alive and tutting, the stereotype is more accurate than an Swiss watchmaker’s daily routine and it lives in my house texting “what’s for tea?” and when he doesn’t like the answer replies with “what’s for tea tomorrow”.
Despite trying to ensure a culinary success rate of every other meal, overnight I have become repellent to him, I am in equal parts embarrassing, irritating and irrelevant. An annoyance cocktail for one and I am shaken and stirred by this.
I know teenagers are meant to pull away, I know that this is normal development. I know I would be more concerned if he wasn’t like this, but I didn’t know how much I would miss him, how much I would crave the odd kindly look or gentle word. The fun of watching a film together, the joy of having dinner as a family and I don’t know to change this. If it is even possible. I started to look to the wider world for solace and advice. This bought Madonna and her recent disagreement with her son into sharp focus.
I can understand why Madonna was so upset when Rocco went to live with his dad and I admire her spirit. To dress up in a Pierrot costume whilst baby pictures of him flash up on the screen behind her at one of her shows, it a bold gesture. Even if it demonstrates how little she realises it will drive him away further by showing him up in front of his friends slash the entire world. I am constantly being told I am too loud even when we are the only people in a restaurant. If I dressed up in a fancy dress costume in public my son would die of shame. It was clear that Madonna would not be answer to my prayers.
I spend more time now worrying that I didn’t make enough of the chances when he was younger and did want me around. Did I change Anakin Skywalker into Darth Varder enough (but those boots were a bitch to get on and off). Did I play with him enough, or was there always work to be done. Did I make enough of all the hugs and kisses and adoration in the eyes. I don’t think I did, but then maybe it is impossible because the love they have for you when you are their world is infinite.
So today, go hug your child, smother them in kisses, put down the cleaning or the laptop and play hide and seek and laugh and laugh and laugh, because you just don’t know when the last time they want to be with you will be and I want you to be able to treasure it.