coming and going

The Son arrived home for a few days. He is currently based in Boston, USA, so his homecoming is an event. It’s an irritating fact about ‘events’ that they tend not to go quite as perfectly as you hoped. As you get older, you factor this in. Just take it as it comes, you say to yourself. Be relaxed. Minor organisational hiccups don’t matter a jot. It’s how YOU are that makes the visit happy or less happy. I always want to pass this advice on to women in bridal shops. Why on earth fuss your wedding up with things to go wrong? Who cares what colour the napkins are? Who really cares what you wear? The happiest days of your life come unexpectedly. You can’t order them like cinema tickets.

Anyhow, we didn’t fuss the visit weekend up, and as a result it was lovely from arrival to all-too-soon departure. Nothing spectacular was done. We sat about over dinner. We nodded off in front of the Burrell Collection documentary video. We found our way to Chatelherault park (we find finding things difficult, so this was high risk). We had a picnic in the car – egg sandwiches, coffee from a flask, shortbread, chocolate – entertained by a girl trying to load a reluctant horse into a lorry. Our sense of direction being a bit squiff, we went for a rather longer walk than anticipated. The miracle of absolute enjoyment in the ordinary moment.

Now the Son is gone. Some mothers like the continued sense of a child’s presence in a tumbled room. I’m not one of those. When any of the children visit, once the awful goodbye is done I rush to strip and remake the bed so that as soon as humanely possible, the room is prepared for the next visit. Looking forward sees me through. In the Son’s room, I also find the things he’s left behind. Even before he’s touched back down in Boston, I’m humming, with apologies to the Proclaimers
‘When you go will I send your phone charger to America?
You can search through your luggage but you will not find it there.’