There have been two fundamental changes this year in NC’s relationship with us:
- Dysfunctionality House has now officially become her local hotel.
- The old man and I have been officially replaced in her affections by the boyfriend.
I thought I was ready to let my baby out of the nest, let her spread her wings and attempt to fly. It’s no secret that the old man and I have been hoping for a while now that our two would leave the nest sooner rather than later, even if Kurt does find himself on a direct route to Her Majesty’s Prison.
It’s not that I think that NC is any closer to leaving home indefinitely, with plans in the pipeline to complete her BSc in rockology and then a PHD, so she can ultimately become a shit-hot rockologist.
But we have definitely reached the ‘hotel’ stage.
I remember fondly how my own father used to accuse me of doing the same thing, treating our home like a hotel, when I was about nineteen. I remember how much I hurt him one year when I went out to a party on Christmas Eve, got back to ‘the hotel’ in the wee hours and slept through his perfectly planned Christmas morning – without a smidgen of guilt or compassion.
Remember those halcyon days in your late teens when you only came home when you ran out of money, needed clean clothes, a shower, a decent meal or a hug? When, even though your parents knew why you were back, they were so desperate to see you that they let it pass.
NC went one step further this year. She spent Christmas Eve with NB’s parents and family. As in, she celebrated Christmas first with them and then tagged reluctantly along to our second-rate Christmas the next day.
Perhaps she should ask HIS mother to do her washing now.
HIS sister gave her a Victoria’s Secret bikini, Santa gave her a Kmart one; NB bought her a dress that fitted and flattered, mine hung off her like an ill-fitting sheet; HE had a gorgeous niece that made NC feel all warm and clucky, we had Kurt.
HE came over to ours on Christmas Day too, played a perfunctory game of Monopoly with what I am sure I interpreted correctly as a smug grin plastered all over his nerdy face and then dragged her back to his den of iniquity for the final forty-eight hours before she was to leave for five weeks in Thailand.
They came back to Dysfunctionality Hotel for her last few, precious hours with HER FAMILY before her flight, then he came to the airport where they hugged and kissed and slobbered all over each other, while all we got was a reminder of where her bank account number was in case she needs more money.
One of his tee-shirts snuck its way into the washing pile the other day and NC made some joke to him about not getting it back for at least six months with my laundry turnaround. OUCH! I might have spat on it rather than sprayed it with water when I came to ironing it.
Why did I iron it?
They do those things now that you do when you’re young and falling in love. They laugh at private jokes together in front of us and they can’t stop touching each other.
During our awkward car journey back from the airport with him, I could hear her texts pinging from his phone. She was missing him already. My phone lay embarrassingly silent in my handbag.
I’m not quite ready to be dropped or replaced yet. I miss not having her around to nag about how little she does in the hotel, the state of her room and her personal dissection of my food. I miss watching the bond between her and the old man, being the butt of their jokes and shopping together even when I know that I am only there to pay. I miss our cups of Chai tea together where we dissected, moaned and laughed about life.
Perhaps these five weeks away will give me time to adjust. Maybe I should demonstrate some maturity, remove that photo of NB from the dartboard and embrace him like she has.
Otherwise I may lose her.
Or maybe I could renovate the hotel while she is away, convert it into a real 5 star experience by learning to cook food that is edible, turning the washing cycle around in less than a week and keeping Kurt locked up permanently in the attic.
Then all I’d need to do is take out a contract on NB.