I was in Norwich today. My daughter set off about the same time to meet a friend in Hyde Park. I sent her a text from the train. It said:
Have fun sweetheart. Don't take any candy from strangers. See you later. xxxx Mum
I’m not a particularly protective mother. And weirdly (for a Jew) I’m not a worrier either. But she was off her usual turf, and I added the candy warning just to remind her to keep her wits about her.
About three hours later, I got a call in Norwich.
“Mum! Guess what???? The most incredible thing happened!!! I got a job!!! In a sweet shop!”
I put down my copy of the Guardian, where I’d been reading about the horrible fate of women trafficked for sex. “You what?”
“I got a job in a sweet shop!!!!! Isn’t it the most amazing thing ever?????”
Yes. Amazing. Apparently she and her friend had shown such expertise on the subject while frequenting the Serpentine Sweets van, that the proprietor (a woman — “she’s old mum, like YOUR age”) offered them both a job.
(Something about this reminds me of the time I was walking the dogs and my big one, who lives for food, returned from a small forage in the bushes with an entire steak and kidney pie in his mouth. He looked so happy, I couldn’t bear to take it off him. I am cruel, obviously, being the mother of a teenager. But even I have limits.)
My daughter continued. “And we get as much as we like to eat too!!!!!”
Oh joy and rapture.
A. Why do parents even bother giving advice?
B. Don’t panic. I’m keeping a close eye on this.