The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

No Place Like Home. Mum’s Home.
November 1, 2010, 5:45 am
Filed under: Comment

So on Friday, I’m going to see my Mum.

I’m only be there for 48-72 hours but it will be worth it.

I’m not going for her birthday – she turns an amazing 78 on Wednesday – I’m going because I love her and miss her and want to see her.

I often wonder what it’s like for her when I walk in the door.

Not because I’m a pain-in-the-ass [which I know I can be at times] but because I’m the boy she gave birth to 40 years ago who is now married, works in a career she doesn’t understand and lives in China.

I wonder how quick time has passed for her …

I wonder if she feels like it was only yesterday that she gave birth to me.

Took me to my first day at school.

Watched me ride my first bike.

Found out I’d gone to town all by myself.

Encouraged me to play the guitar.

Learnt I’d failed all my school exams [I was going to be a rockstar, who needed exam results when you’re going to be a rockstar?] then passed them. [I wasn’t going to be a rockstar, I needed some exam results pretty damn quick!]

I love my Mum, my wife, my cat and my friends – well, a couple of them anyway – in ways that I find almost impossible to describe so I just can’t imagine how it must feel when you are with someone you actually helped create, nurture and educate.

And then how does it feel when you realise the person who once relied on you for everything ends up developing their own life, their own experiences and their own views?

Does it feel good or does it make you feel less and less important or relevant?

Mum being Mum, I’m sure she feels incredibly happy and proud because all she ever wanted for me was to be happy and healthy and fulfilled … and that’s what I am … but I can’t quite comprehend how she must feel when she sees her son and a bunch of his friends – friends she has known for as long as they have been alive – come bounding back into her life like it was yesterday.

I know she loves how the house fills with laughter.

I know she likes asking me about my life.

I know she enjoys just having me near.

But I don’t know what that really feels like. For her at least.

I guess I’ll get a better idea on Friday but I hope I get to find out for myself one day because I’m interested to see whether the ultimate demonstration of love is not what you do, but what you’re willing to let go of.

38 Comments so far
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Thoughtful post on something I was thinking about this morning
as a not-quite-grown-up father of four grown-up children.

Comment by Ciaran McCabe

four kids. four fucking kids. youre living up to the irish stereotype there arent you ciaran. whats your view on spuds and u2?

Comment by andy@cynic

unless youre a jock.

Comment by andy@cynic

Charming as usual Andy.

Thanks for your kind words Ciaran, four kids is quite a haul, I’m amazed you have time to keep your sanity, let alone write on this blog.

One thing I have noticed is that apart from NP, the people with kids who write on this blog all have a boatload of the little buggers.

Marcus: 3
Freddie: 3
George: 3
Ciaran: 4

Is this a phenomenon?

Does this blog help develop supersperm powers?

Do I regret writing the previous sentence?

Seems the answer to all 3 questions could be a resounding yes – which is very scary for me. And NP.

Comment by Rob

if i ever have fucking triplets im charging the nappies to you. it shouldnt be too tough for you to handle though, youre already shits best friend.

Comment by andy@cynic

When you are here, my beloved Robert, I will answer all your questions. I cannot wait until I see you and those few days will be precious for me.
All my love.
Mum xxx

Comment by Fiorella

What are you doing up at this time Mum?


Anyway I can’t wait to see you.


Comment by Rob

hello mrs c. hope the news campbell is coming to visit and bringing a houseful of his nottingham heavy metal loving yob friends doesnt ruin your special day. happy birthday for wednesday. hope he spoils you rotten. hes good for it, i made him a fucking fortune.

now back to me.

did you write this campbell or paula saccharine sweet abdul?

whatever. theres some frankly very fucking disturbing things mentioned in this post that i need and demand clarification on right fucking now.

1) youre happy, healthy and fulfuckingfilled. 

are you? ok healthy is fine but happy and fulfilled? no fucking way.

i know you should be happy because youre living fucking satans dream but the words “campbell” and “happy” are as unfuckingpalateable and believable as “billy” and” birds.”

as for fulfuckingfilled.

you have more ideas and schemes than a 6 year old with add whose just drunk 6 espressos and a packet of e numbers. i know w+k is ok and all that but youre not going to be there for long, youre going to throw your toys out the pram when they refuse to make an airship or some other mad fucking scheme. you dont do fulfilled campbell, its one of the reasons youre so fucking good. sometimes. when im guiding you.

2) you sound like youre about to announce youre going to be a daddy.

tell me its not so or im booking a one way on galactic and calling the police for jills protection.

yes youd be an awesome fucking father but the thought of campbell jnr is very fucking scary. the chinese would call out the national fucking guard or whatever they call them in commieland. and youd never be able to shake the suspicion that the reason you had a kid was just to justify buying more electronic shit.

the rest is the usual lovely fucking son shit you say about your too fucking good for you mum so i can let that pass but admit youre not happy, fulfilled and not reproducing or youve just ruined the next 50 years of my life.

Comment by andy@cynic



[At least not yet. I think]

Saying that, now you highlight how I could buy even more tech-tat, the idea is even more appealing, especially as I know you’re a generous bugger where kids are concerned [that came out wrong, and yet so right, hahaha] so I’d be able to enjoy watching you get even more angry as you feel compelled to spoil Campbell jnr something rotten.


And maybe you’re right about the fulfilled thing. I do feel good about life at the moment – but we both know that is always a dangerous sign because then I start questioning shit and before I know it, I’ve started another scheme/company to keep me busy.

Jesus, Jill is going to kill me and it’s all your fault.

Comment by Rob

ill get the paperwork ready then campbell but this time im not letting you have the casting fucking vote.

Comment by andy@cynic

nice photo campbell by the way. youre in danger of showing a creative streak. go and lie the fuck down and hope it passes.

Comment by andy@cynic

I often think about similar things but I guess until you’re a parent you can never really know. You should do it Rob, you’d be a great Dad, even Andy said so. Have a great trip.

Comment by Pete

really nice post, mate.
and buon compleanno Fiorella!!

Comment by Age

I’m sure you will discover for yourself soon enough Robert and you’ll then discover it is wonderful beyond description.

Comment by Lee Hill

You’ve sort of answered the question for me haven’t you Lee. No need to bother finding out for myself now …

You’ve just ruined my Mum’s grandmother dreams. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Apologies to your Mother.

Comment by Lee Hill

dream shatterer.

Comment by andy@cynic

If it’s a sunny day in the UK like in that pic, can we have a snap of you with a hanky on your head and socks and sandals?

Move over Martin Parr.

Comment by Charles

I don’t do socks. Especially with sandals. Fortunately my Italian blood keeps me from that cliche. As for the hankie – you’re on.

Comment by Rob

if its sunny like that when hes in the uk, its more evidence he is satans fucking messenger.

Comment by andy@cynic

Dude, you have good thoughts, compassion and empathy are the keys to life. Nowt else matters.

Comment by simon billing

Thank you, that means a lot – especially today.

Comment by Rob

It seems like only a couple of months ago that we wished your mum a happy birthday on the blog. Time is passing quickly.

Are you swinging by Amsterdam on this trip Rob??

Comment by Heather

I know – that’s what scares me so much.

Will be in Amsterdam next week for a couple of days, will you be around?

Comment by Rob

Fistly, are you suggesting there is somthing sub-standard about my sperm? Noted
Anyway, lovely post. Since only one year’s gone by in a blink for me I fear how speedily 40 might go.
Incidentally, I took Will to feed the ducks by the river, in the town I grew up in. It was at once strange and lovely to take him there. And then we bumped into a girl I haven’t seen for 16 years, the first girl to properly break my heart, with her Mum and her little 2 year old. Both awkward and nice at the same time – and I always find it perverse that you can know someone that well, her family and friends, and then it all gets cut off in an instant, slightly mental to meet a complete stranger that you know so well.

Comment by northern

Sounds like a James Blunt song.

I have been in a similar situation – not with a child I should point out – but with a woman of significance who I was introducing to my past. And when we were there, I came across another lady who was significant at another point in my life … a lady who ripped me apart … and whilst we made polite conversation and were pleased to see eachother, the unsaid elements were all around us and I think we both wished we could have gone somewhere and just talked, but it wasn’t appropriate or probably the right thing to do … but like you said, it was weird to meet someone who was fundamentally a stranger and yet a person I knew so much about.

Comment by Rob

‘We may be finished with the past but the past my not be finished with us’

On another note, no one accuses me of James Bluntness and lives to tell the tale.

Comment by northern

my nan is all alone since my grandfather died – and they brought me up for most part of my life. It’s like I’m their child pretty much. every time I walk through the door to see her I get smothered and lavished with all the food I could ever think of.

But it’s also frustrating when we try to talk over the phone – not one day can go by without hearing from me, and I’m not always in the mood for it. And I’ve occasionally made her cry because I was irritable. Nevertheless I know she’s lonely and these 3-4 years since I’ve been here she’s coped pretty well on her own.

What DOES go by really quick is the time you spend together. That’s never enough.

Comment by andreea

That’s a great point Andrea – the time together seems to go even more quickly than the time apart.

I know what you mean about ‘not being in the mood’ to talk – though in my case it tends to be when my Mum and I discuss one of our ‘contentious’ topics and suddenly the enjoyment of catching up turns into the annoyance of subjects we know we’ll never agree on and you just want to be left alone for a little while and yet also feel you don’t want to go away.

Love is a complicated thing.

Comment by Rob

Nick Hornby wrote about something similar in his book ‘How to be Good’. It was about how you think you’re a bad person for being away from your family but at the same time it’s the most sane decision you could take. Joy Division were onto something – I think I’d have failed in many aspects if I spent most of my time with someone who loved me so much they were afraid of pointing out my flaws.

But till then, another quote from the same book:
“It seems to me now that the plain state of being human is dramatic enough for anyone; you don’t need to be a heroin addict or a performance poet to experience extremity. You just have to love someone.”

Drugs? Don’t need them. Hah!

Comment by andreea

It’s funny how those contentious topics keep popping up even if you both know they’re only likely to escalate things and turn into “fighting”. Still you’re completely right Rob, lovely post.

And happy birthday Mrs Campbell.

Comment by rafik

I wish I had the money to jet back and forth to see her more often though. Feeling like when I go is going to be the last time is bloody killing me every single day.

Comment by andreea


Comment by Rob

So the fact that you’ve let yourself go is just further evidence of your overwhelming self-love?

Comment by John

call me. left messages but cant get the fuck through. you know why.

Comment by andy@cynic

i get the feeling that all y’all could do with some extra love atm. thinkin’ happy thoughts in the right directions.

Comment by lauren

lovely, thoughtful post, Rob. One suggestion–if you want to know how she feels, ask her. Ask her what it was like when she let go (or maybe she never did, most mothers still keep a bit back), or when you grew up (or maybe you never really did, at least in her eyes)– you may not get too many more chances, and she may surprise you.

Comment by judyt54

This post is 5 years old. You’ll be happy I’ve asked her since I wrote it Judy.

Comment by Rob

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