The other day NC was telling us about her plans for the next seven months or so while she has a gap between her degree and her Masters. More accurately, she gave us an outline of how her plans away from home will improve her continued personal growth trajectory.
The old man and I sat there, mouths agape as we listened to this mature daughter of ours forecast her future in detail, and then he responded, ‘you should really be our parent, NC.’
‘I’ve been your parent for the past ten years,’ she shot back wryly.
It might seem ironic that I am admitting this after all those wailing, fearful posts about us leaving the kids alone a few weeks ago, yet it’s a harsh, nevertheless true observation. NC has been the tower of strength, the backbone of our little unit of four for a while now, braving and neutralising many a dysfunctional domestic storm with her indomitable common sense, dry wit and humour. She has been the light when there has been shade, and the cement foundation when ours have turned to sand.
I suppose it comes more naturally to her, being a scientist, because she sees things in black and white, looks at problems logically rather than emotionally and never gives up until she finds a solution.
And I will miss her…even though sometimes she’s fucking scary.
I should have recognised that she was a fighter from the moment she entered the world, dragging half of her placenta out with her. To be honest, I’m surprised she didn’t eat it afterwards in the Bircher muesli she methodically prepares each day.
I remember when she was 17 and about to go on her first trip to the UK with two friends. When the other two had a meltdown at the airport, I watched with admiration as NC spotted that some emotional shit was about to hit the fan, switched into control mode and assumed her role as captain.
Similarly, we were chatting on the family Messenger recently during our time in the UK, when NC had been given the rather odorous task of being a temporary charge to her brother, when Kurt asked the old man for a favour. When the old man dared to respond in the affirmative, this message suddenly exploded across the screen from NC, ‘NEVER undermine my parenting, dad!’
You don’t mess with NC.
So how will we cope when she goes?
Who will roast the old man for his sexist observations? Who will replace her as the only adult in the apartment that Kurt respects? Who will listen to me moan about my life, seemingly empathetically, then come back at me with some wise gem of an old cliche with the hidden meaning of ‘pull yourself together, mum’?
Who the fuck will remind us all to vote? Who will be our parents now?