Week 36: Helicopter Parent (Photo credit: WilliamsProjects)
We met when we were just seventeen.
It was an innocent time. Up until then I had been locked away in an all girls’ boarding school, he in the boys equivalent. He had only thought about sport; I was like a bitch on heat.
The stars must have aligned..
I spotted him in my French class one day as he was conjugating the verb avoir. He had a beautiful French accent, stunning green eyes…. and hair, back then.
Our very first ‘date’ was in the coffee shop down the road from the school – some of his friends orchestrated it, because he was obviously incapable. As ‘Zoom’ played on the radio, we shyly tucked into our hot chocolates and gazed awkwardly into each other’s eyes. He looked terrified; I felt like the cat that got the cream.
The seal was broken. We fell in love. We couldn’t get enough of each other.
‘Need’ took on a whole new meaning.
We spent every weekend of the next two years at his house. We would arrive, make the necessary polite words of conversation with his parents, (about the weather, the school or the garden), share a polite cup of tea and head straight up to his bedroom. Shamelessly. I remember how his mother always looked suspicious and slightly worried.
And we would explore……..his collection of music cassettes, among other things.
We took it slowly. Things were different back then – we weren’t in any particular rush.
And at the end of those halcyon days, just before I went home, my future mother-in-law would call us down from the old man’s den of iniquity and calmly make us pizza and salad; but with questioning eyes. And we would sit in the kitchen, and talk politely to her again, as we munched on our pizza, rosy cheeked, lips swollen, blissfully unaware of how transparent we were. Oblivious to the fact that she knew.
That we were falling in love.
The ADHDer has been spending a lot of time in his bedroom recently with his new girlfriend. Playing her the Arctic Monkeys on his Ipod, I think. She looks a sweet girl, like I did.
I probably always appear suspicious and worried to her, though.
Because I know.
I pace and cough a lot outside his bedroom. I often need to put his washing away in his bedroom or vacuum, when she’s there. I spend a lot of time listening at the bottom of the stairs, shouting up to see if they need anything; I sometimes have to telephone when I don’t get an immediate response.
The old man passes me on the stairs and makes the L (loser) sign on his forehead, or simply tuts in disgust, making whirring noises.
He thinks I’m a helicopter parent.
I made them pizza and salad yesterday, as they emerged from the darkness and heat of above. They smiled gratefully at me; with their rosy cheeks and swollen lips.
And I wept a little inside.