Discipline Demanded and Restraint Required
Something is happening this week which is testing my mettle in possibly the most irksome way. This evening we have been been denied our usual Skyping privilege. The desperate fifteen minutes has been scrapped. The signal will be dead. Nothing.
We will have no communication for over forty-eight hours. I feel abandoned. This is because he is on a school trip, and the trip extends late into the evening.
So what? Deal with it! are your thoughts. But there is a twist ... naturally.
The location of the trip is 2.3 miles from our house - that is about 10 minutes by car, or 15 by bus including walking to and from the bus-stops on either side of the journey.
In fact it is right next door to where I go for my nearly-daily swim. I could be ploughing down the fast lane in my elegant but slightly splashy style, while he is only a few yards away. It's ridiculous.
He is closer to us than he has been all week, and yet there is no way of getting in touch, or talking to him, or having any type of contact. Of course the temptation is great. I could become one of those parents. I could stand on the side of the road and wave as he gets off the bus, loudly singing 'Coo-ee' and perhaps waving an unopened umbrella. Or, I could phone the school and insist they tell me when the breaks are, and insist - even more forcefully - that they allow me to see my child, as a conversation with me is clearly more important than chatting to his friends and behaving like a normal child. Or we could kidnap him. We could wait until he is getting back on the coach, and then grab him to allow him the indulgence of a night in his own bed; in his own home. This is my chance. My transformation is nearly complete. I can finally become the sort of parent who stalks their own child. It could be a new TV reality format - a ballet version of Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents.
Deboulé, Défilé, and Doting Dads.
Pointe, Pirouettes and Persistent Parenting
Why stop at the school trip? This surveillance could become a way of life. He could be exercising at the barre and my face pops up at a window. I could don a chef's uniform and hat and plate up breakfast in the canteen. And that suspicious looking gardner pruning the rose beds? That's me. Skyping will become redundant. My tools will no longer be wifi and iPads. I have rope, a grappling hook and a full range of disguises. I am Peter Sellers with a full range of flamboyant disguises. He won't have to tell me how it is all going, I'll have seen it all with my own eyes.
I just can't believe that it has taken me this long to have this innovational idea.
Of course I'm going to control myself. As hard as it might be, I have the discipline to stay at home and just watch telly. We will be Skyping again tomorrow. But this flight of fancy into a world of Ealing Comedy has served its purpose. It has kept me distracted while our son has been so near, and yet so far.
Next time is all about Fathers and Sons - just in time for Mothers' Day
"Could you make it funnier?"
One avid and vociferous reader of the blog has asked if I could make it more amusing. She feels, perhaps, that it has a tendency to be earnest. This very attentive reader happens to be my own mother. I think her comment reveals as much about her own parenting style as it does about my writing. So this blog, Mum, is for you.
Over the last couple of years of being the parent of a dancer, I have developed several unexpected obsessions. These obsessions then lead to small but significant victories. Here is a list in ascending order of importance; the most urgent preoccupations come last:
Writing this has revealed to me that the socks are more important to me than health and safety. We learn something new every day. I'm not too ashamed; it's the truth after all.
If you fancy writing about your own obsessions and victories in the comment box below, it will help me feel less alone.
Next time, Mum, I'll be returning to my usual mawkish soul-searching self, as I talk about the pressure to be perfect.