My mother, the worrier. Ever since I can remember she's mollycoddled me to within an inch of my life, and no solo outing could ever commence until she'd listed all of the possible dangers that I had to watch out for. Now this didn't apply just for holidays or nights out. She's always had words of warning for even a simple trip into town, and don't get me started on any time I would step foot into a car... (those bloody death traps!)
I'll give you a sample of a conversation we've had a million times as I'm trying to leave the house:
'Bye sweetie. Remember, hold onto your things.'
'Look after each other.'
'Watch your drinks. They do all kinds of things these days...'
'We always do.'
'Make sure you're careful on those heels!'
By this point I'll be halfway out the door, but she will have only just got started...
'Have you got a coat?!' (Said at any time of year, and always presented as a dire emergency.)
'Okay, be good!'
'Wait a minute, have you got a key?!'
'Yes. As always...' (I will inevitably be losing my patience at this point.)
'Sweetie!' (As I'm turning away for the eighteenth time...)
'Will you send me a text when you arrive?'
'Who's driving?'(Also of utmost importance, even though she's yet to have a different reaction to any name that I ever offer up.)
'Tell her to drive slow, won't you?'
'Yep.' (I will have optimistically made my way to the end of the drive by now.)
'Darling, be safe!'
'Can you leave me Sophie's number just in case?'
'MUM!!!!!' (And regretfully, this marks the regression to my pathetic teenage self.) 'God! I'm not going to let anyone rob me or spike my drink, I'll make sure all my friends have both eyes on me at all times, I won't talk to any strangers and I won't eat any berries without checking if they're poisonous first. HONESTLY!'
Her face will then fall, and I'll feel like a monster. But it does get tiresome. I mean, her go-to phrase is, 'Have fun! Within reason!' Really.
When I was younger it used to really piss me off, and I ended up lying about pointless stuff just to keep her quiet.
I'd be going to see my little high school boyfriend and tell her I was going to the gym. I would even go as far as regularly leaving the house in gym clothes and getting changed in the alley next to my house. Yep.
Nights out with my friends would be a 'sleepover at Rach's.' It got to the point where between us girls all of our rowdier outings would be nicknamed 'pizza and DVD nights.'
And now that I'm 23 years of age? Now that I live in a different country to her? Now that I've lived on my own for five years, and have been financially independent for almost as long?
Not all that much has changed, mes amis. I tell her more, but she worries just as much.
Ever since I moved out she still calls me at least twice a day (yep, twice a day), and for her peace of mind she still wants me to email her when I get home after a night out. (I soon learned that the best thing to do with that was to just send her an email around 1am saying, 'home! great night!' or similar...) I know what you might be thinking. 'Leave her to worry! Stop indulging her! She'll be fine!' Well. That's where you're gravely mistaken, guyz. There's no chance of leaving her to worry, as I learned one fateful morning at university when I didn't answer my phone (I was sleeping off a hangover and was blissfully unaware of any contact being made.) I woke up to twenty missed calls and frantic knocking on my door. My panicked mum had driven all the way to Nottingham, and had worked herself up into such a state that as soon as she saw that I was alive and safe, she burst into tears, hugged me, turned right back round and drove all the way home again.
Other things that my tiny mum really, really, really worries about:
-Me eating sushi
-Me getting the metro late at night alone (kinda understandable)
-Me not carrying thief-proof enough bags
-My fridge exploding
-Me using chemical products to clean my bathroom
-Me dying my hair
-Me driving her car (or any car come to mention it...)
My mum, the worrier.
I wouldn't have her any other way.
Anyway, you need to know something else...
It's not actually her fault.
She comes from a family of worrying women.
Her sisters worry, her mum worries, her aunties worry... the whole gang work themselves into wild frenzies of their own making.
My cousin had a secret boyfriend for ten years because her mum was so worried about him not being right for her.
And my nonna is the original and best Queen Worrier.
She still calls all five of her (adult) children daily.
She still requests that when any member of her extended family flies anywhere they call her when they land. She makes her own little calculations about when she expects us to have arrived and won't sit still until she knows that the plane is safely at its destination in one piece.
When we're driving anywhere and Nonna's in the back she develops a nervous sniff, and if we're driving anywhere and she's not in the car she'll watch us drive off from the balcony, shouting advice as we back out (even more infuriating being as she's never once driven a car herself...)
Tonight my mum and my nonna were talking about an upcoming visit my mum's making to Paris to see me:
Nonna: So we won't talk that whole week then?
Ma: No mamma! I'll be with Silvia.
Nonna: No phone calls at all?
Ma: No... I'll message the others and they can tell you what I've said.
Nonna: Why don't you message me?
Ma: Because you don't know how to read them!!
Nonna: Well, as long as you're safe...
And so on, ad nauseam...
And as I find myself asking my loved ones things like, 'no, tell me exactly what time you land!', it's slowly beginning to dawn on me that maybe, just maybe, I'll end up being exactly the same...
A little worrier like my mum, and her mum, and her mum before her.