Lost Limb

It has been a strange weekend. I have lost a limb; metaphorically speaking.
Middle son has gone on a four day school trip to an outward bound centre, where hopefully he is enjoying the activities on offer to him. Mothers will relate to the weird feeling the absence of one child has on the dynamics of the family.
Don’t be deceived, I paid heavily for these days without him in monetary terms to the brave school teachers who have taken responsibility. It has been worth every penny to have the short-lived respite from his teenage mood swings, but I still feel I am missing a vital organ or necessary limb from my very being.
Friday I had to drop him and luggage at school, before getting myself to work. I’d had a productive morning’s writing in the company of the birds, before bodies began to emerge from their slumbers. Sexy Sporty Dad not known for his early mornings appeared down ahead of the 7am news (unheard of), clad in Lycra no less! He had challenged himself to cycle the 17 miles to and from work. There have been sporadic incidences of insanity when he has taken the bike in the car to cycle home returning the following morning but this was madness!
Middle son appeared showered and pleased to be out of the confines of his restrictive school uniform. He made his own lunch from whatever lurked in the fridge or cupboard. The fruit bowl untouched but the multi pack of mini cheddars and the last remaining slices of my home made chocolate cake have vanished!
No 1 Son appeared with a few teenage grunts and requesting a lift the whole mile to school. Mini Son up and dressed fed and drank his birds, brought in the milk, emptied his bit of the dishwasher; ok he gets pocket money for all these but so do the older boys, they prefer to forgo the money along with the effort.
Parking outside a shop on the way I trusted Middle Son to go and get the sweets he needed for the journey. No 1 Son having had a lift to the back gate and not wanting to be seen with his mother leapt out quickly and joined the throng.
Middle Son reappeared loaded down not with sweets as expected but with cans of stimulation drink. I don’t envy those teachers one bit.
We may not have had to bring him down off his high but the family have missed him albeit in their own little ways. No 1 Son struggling to find someone to fight with has resorted to hanging round with his brother’s friends. He turns his wind ups on the family using the same tactics; but to his disappointment it does not work so well.

Mini Son complains his brother takes over his friends but this weekend with no one to organise their games and look after the little ones he is wandering round the estate looking for someone to play with. With Middle Son away there isn’t even the usual gathering of BMXing teenagers to hang around with.

Sexy Sporty Dad had no-one to repair punctures for and was lost having the time to finally do a “toit”; something he has been meaning to get around to, for some time without the continual “Dad can you just….”
Quietness has descended on our house without the neighbourhood traipsing through for drinks, snacks and play station. Squash is left in the cupboard, bread and milk in the fridge and no half drunk glasses left over the kitchen, hall, garden and stairs.

I had a disturbed sleep the first night he was away, wondering how he was getting on and if he was able to sleep. Next morning I ventured into his teenage domain towel over my face and aired his room rescuing his bedding for washing. The second night I slept better. Only one more before he is sewn back into the fabric of his family and my body feels whole again, and then the family can get back to bickering like families do.


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