Alarmed…but only slightly…

You know the way sometimes your kids embarrass you?

Or vice versa?

Or how sometimes you embarrass yourself?

Or they do?

And you sympathise with them. Although inside you’re laughing.

Only if it was really funny, right enough, and they’re not too heartbroken.

I broke those rules last night. So did my husband.

We’re bad people. Poor parents. Parents without appropriate levels of sympathy. Apparently.

My 22 year-old daughter has been getting on my wick since she moved back home. Twice. She’s untidy.

No, let me rephrase that. She’s a manky midden. And I’m sick of screaming in frustration every time I put my head round her door.

I don’t mind a bit of mess. You can’t have seven weans and not have a bit of mess.

But she’s more than messy. She grosses me out. Correction. Her room grosses me out.

And it’s not just me who says so. We, as a family, are unanimous in this. Everyone has their own room and is capable of keeping it reasonably tidy so it can be cleaned. Except Mary-Kate. Shovelling shite comes to mind.

And I ignore it. I do. At least, I try to. Everyone says that’s what you should do. I’ve experienced this before. But her levels of clattiness take on proportions that have to be seen to be believed.

I’d post a picture. But I can’t.

Because I spent all yesterday tidying, cleaning, moving furniture around to optimise space. It’s a thing I do. Quite a lot. Missed my vocation really. I could have been a room planner if such a thing exists.

I was up to my eyes in dirty washing, clean washing that hadn’t been put away and cat toys because she’s the cat-girl.

And I thought cats liked clean environments.

Apparently they don’t give a shit.

So, in between chasing cat and dog out of the room while I fumigated and picked up, there was a lot of French. Actually, there were lots of languages. I hadn’t realised how many languages I could swear in. It comes in handy in front of little ears. Fortunately, none of my kids speak, Greek, Gaelic, French, German or gibberish. Neither do I mostly. But I can get by in sweary words.

So, when I hobbled up to bed after making dinner to do a little reading – not blogs, a book, my bad –  and left my husband to empty the last wash of the day I was in a strange place.

Pissed off but satisfied. Ever been there?

About elevenish or so I heard the dulcet tones of said daughter falling through the door. I admit I was looking forward to giving her some verbals when I heard snippets that had my ear cocked in curiosity.

‘Oh, dad, I’m mortified! How could they? Why would they think that? Paramedics……slapping……’

This was too much. But I held on.

She stoated up the stairs as I knew she would. Thrust open my bedroom door where I’m all, ‘Wassup?’

This is where I held my parenting skills and a straight face.

The gist of it is.

Having stayed up until 5a.m. the night before when she sat up with pals in their flat watching ‘Orange Is The New Black’, having gone to work after about four hours of sleep, having had a few quaffs on her staff night out straight after work, she was, she assured me, shattered.

Being the sensible girl she is, she left the party early, got on a bus, set her phone alarm for fifteen minutes later, positioned her bag at the window of the bus and settled down for some quick shut eye while listening through her earphones to ‘some soothing music’.

Some time later…

…she was awakened by someone trying to put her on her back while she lashed out at them in self-defence.

Fear not!

It was a paramedic.

Quickly established, apparently, when she asked, ‘WTF!’

A couple of teenagers had decided that Mary-Kate was ‘out of it’, ‘probably on something’, ‘probably heroin’, ‘she’s mumbling’ ( is that a symptom?) and had reported this to the bus driver who, give him his due, had taken prompt action and called the emergency services.

The bus had been at a standstill for fifteen irate travellers’ minutes all reasonably fuming at being kept from their journey.

Upon questioning, and after gathering some semblance of lucidity after being wakened, Mary-Kate was able to establish that she had indeed ‘only been bloody sleeping’.

‘Was it normal,’ they wanted to know, ‘that you can’t be wakened easily?’

‘Duhh, ask my mum.’

Mary-Kate never knew, neither did I, that if you refuse help from the emergency services you have to speak to them on the phone and reassure them. Must be a liabilty thing. So she did.

‘I’m FINE! I was sleeping. I slept through my alarm. Jeez!’

As Mary-Kate did not call the emergency services herself on a false alarm she is not being billed for it.

But it’s good to know that random teenagers on a bus care enough to report their concerns. Although slightly worrying that they were out at all at that hour and  know so little of life that mumbling in your sleep constitutes heroin addiction.

Good to know too that had Mary-Kate been in need of intervention there was help so readily at hand.

Not so happy with one paragon of citizenship who was heard to bemoan the junkie culture, citing Mary-Kate as an example and telling her ‘to get awa’ hame tae yer mammy’ as Mary finally disembarked, mortified at her experience.

Me? Her daddy?

We were there for her. As we always are for all our kids.

But afterwards. In bed. We laughed.

Tainted slightly at the idea that services had been used unneccessarily, that some folk don’t know a sound sleep from a coma, that there are many who are unsympathetic to another’s plight – whatever form it takes – and that my darling, dirty daughter didn’t fully appreciate my efforts until I folded her into bed and she could sleep the sleep of the knackered worker/partier/wrongly-accused where she sprawled out, without a single item of clothing atop the duvet, saying, ‘Aw, mummmm’. And slept.


She’s slightly less mortified. A little miffed. Full of aggrieved – and perhaps justified – annoyance that ‘ye can’t even catch a bit a’ kip oan the bus noo withoot a full-scale investigation.’

This has never happened to me or her dad. The paramedics I mean. In our day, you just ended up at the bus station. And had the long walk home.

I slept like a log last night. Kids all in. Eventually. Crap room tidied. Laughed like a concerned parent whose worst imaginings have been relieved.

And I’m now on room patrol.

Her jaiket’s oan a shaky nail.

And you wonder why I have to keep this 54 year old body in shape. My youngest’s only eight.