Tuesday, 26 February 2008
From my vantage point behind the barrier in the Arrivals Hall, I can see the passengers from the Stanstead flight coming through from the baggage hall. I can’t believe that Sophie and the girls haven’t come through yet. It’s not like Sophie to be at the back of a queue. Maybe I should check the fight number on the Arrivals Board, I’d feel a right fool if I’ve met the wrong flight.
Yes I was right, that was their flight, so where are they? Maybe they missed the fight or maybe one of the girls has had an accident. Don’t panic, if they don’t appear soon just go and find somebody to ask if they can look for them.
Oh, thank goodness, here they are now. ‘Darlings, where have you been? I thought that you’d missed the plane’
‘Hello Granny, the silly men lost our luggage’ gabbled Olivia running through the barrier towards me with Grace not far behind her.
‘Darling how awful haven’t they found them yet’ I ask bending down to scoop up my granddaughters.
‘No Mum quite obviously they haven’t’ snapped Sophie carrying only her hand luggage. ‘It was chaos at check in. I’m not surprised that cases go missing. I don’t know how Dad copes with these budget airlines every week’
‘Sophie I am so sorry’ I say putting my arm around my daughter’s shoulder ‘Let’s get you out of here and I’ll make some phone call when we get to the villa’
‘Mum please stop fussing’ said Sophie, shrugging away from me. ‘The official in the baggage hall has tracked down the cases and is arranging to get them here tomorrow. So I suppose I’ll just have to come all the way back and collect them.’
Fussing, how can it be fussing when all I want to do is help? ‘I’ll come back tomorrow and pick them up for you if you want’
‘There’s no need Mum, I’ve just said that I will come back for the cases; you can stay at the villa and look after the girls’ snapped Sophie.
Doesn’t Sophie realise that all I’m trying to do is help. I know that Martin would probably have taken control of the whole situation in about five minutes but he’s not here, so she stuck with fussy old Mum.
I know that it’s not fashionable any more but all I ever wanted, after Martin and I married, was to be a Mum. I couldn’t wait to have babies and when the girls were little was the happiest time of my life. I thought that I had such a perfect little family, two beautiful girls and a loving husband.
I suppose that Sophie and I started drifting apart when she was a teenager. Sophie was serious even then and had worked so hard in school. She always wanted to go to a good University and was determined to pass her Oxbridge exams. Looking back, I think that was probably when all her relationships began to suffer. It wasn’t easy for her to study for such long hours and keep friends who wanted to go out and have fun. One by one they stopped calling and soon Sophie stopped going out altogether.
Martin couldn’t understand why I was worried about her. After all she was working hard at school and doing well at her exams. He wanted the best for her, the best University, the best job, and I wanted those things too but I also wanted her to go out with her friends have fun. But it seemed Sophie didn’t need friends and she certainly didn’t need me.
Looking at her now, striding towards the Exit doors leaving me to gather up Olivia and Grace I feel more like her Nanny. Doesn’t she realise that all I want is to look after my family and do the best I can for them. I know that she thinks of me as relic from the past who couldn’t possibly be fulfilled as a woman by being just a housewife and mother, but what she doesn’t realise is, that’s what I want to be. And what’s wrong with that.
After making sure that Olivia and Grace are safely strapped into their car seats, I carefully drive out of the airport. Sophie wastes no time in telling me how she will have to spend a few hours each day working on her big American contract.
‘But Sophie it’s been so long since you’ve had a holiday, don’t you think that you deserve a rest from work?’ I know that I’m pleading but this really is too much, even for Sophie.
There will be plenty of time for holidays when I make partner’ said Sophie ‘besides I thought you were looking forward to spending time with your granddaughters’
‘Yes, of course I am, but I was looking forward to having time with my daughters as well’ I say gritting my teeth.
‘Ella will here on Friday and I’m hoping that I will have most of my work done by then so you will have us both for a whole weekend’
‘A whole weekend’ I say, trying to keep the sarcasm out of my voice for the sake of the little ones, ‘I was hoping that it could be for longer’
‘Are you sure Mum? You know how argumentative Ella can be’.
Glancing across at my eldest daughter sitting upright in the passenger seat next to me, I can’t believe that she could have said that about Ella without a trace of irony.
As we head inland towards the village driving through the farmland that runs through along the plain, Olivia and Grace squeal with delight as we pass a group of young boys jumping from the newly mown hay which has been stacked at the edge of a field. Thank goodness they seem happy to be happy to be on holiday even if their Mother looks like she would rather be anywhere else but here.