I’ve written lots of posts here about issues that I don’t talk about easily. The grim reality of pleading with an anorexic child to eat, the messy realities of divorce and my own depression and the contrast with what happens in my head compared to the face I present. But this post worries me more than any other.
L is in her third month with The Boyfriend. He continues to be polite, supportive and incredibly caring and kind. When they say goodbye at the doorstep, he calls back that he loves her. She comes home, wearing a tshirt bearing the words Just Do It that he gave her as encouragement to eat. He has days when his CF keeps him at home, too ill to go out and she goes round in joggers with pancake mixture to cook him breakfast. I FaceTime her while she is at his house, and she answers, bleary eyed and sleepy. They were asleep. There is an awkward silence in our kitchen as we realise they were In Bed. Yes, asleep, but….well, I don’t know. So, we have The Talk. It is hilarious, really. K stays and asks questions that I am much too scared to ask. L dodges them, but then talks assuredly about The Boyfriend and CF and resulting infertility. In the end, K assesses my fears as less about them having sex than about them having bad sex. This is possibly true.
Tonight, L asks if The Boyfriend can stay over. In her room. I say yes. I make some lame joke that it doesn’t mean I want to be kept awake all night. L pulls a face and says Ew Yuk. We both know we are circling around a conversation neither of us wants to have. I always wanted to be the mum who didn’t have stupid rules. Who knew that if teenagers are going to have sex that curfews, lectures, church attendance or any other measure will do nothing to stop them. I don’t want to be her ‘best mate’ but nor do I want to play act a charade where I pretend I have no idea what 16/17 year olds are like and invent rules I never observed myself to keep a sense of moral superiority. The truth is, I just want her to be happy and live a life away from anorexia.
And she just came down. She is wearing her fleecy pyjamas. The Boyfriend is ill. He has his inhaler and meds. His CF lungs are playing up. She is making food, including her snack. She is smiling, full of love. They are cuddling and she is looking after him. She seems so happy and I realise it is probably ok. I just hope that he is also going to be OK.