Untimely reminders that I am ageing sometimes appear in the most unexpected situations. A perfect example was the experience that hit me in the teeth last summer. On my way up the stairs with the laundry basket, a chuckling Bigfoot overtook me at high speed. He and his brother were pelting round the house commando-style, hiding behind walls and hunting each other down like elite army snipers.
I was happy to see them playing together. As they fired pellets of paper at each other, I smiled and found it reassuring that they still knew how to play together. Really play. You know, games that don’t involve a T.V or a computer. They were still capable of using their imaginations to create their own game. As I took my laundry basket into the bedroom and started putting away the clean clothing, I wondered when I had bought them the slingshots they appeared to be using. They didn’t seem to be overly efficient, with the paper pellets dropping to the ground close to my aspiring soldiers. Strangely enough, I didn’t remember having purchased any. I shrugged my shoulders. Turning to put away the last dregs of the basket, I was surprised to discover my underwear drawer open and hanging askew, its innards spewing out into the open in a colourful cascade of cotton, silk, and lace. I didn’t remember having left it in such a sorry state that morning…..
I stopped dead in my tracks, clutching P.F’s boxer shorts. The neurones fired up, the synapses connected. I peered around the door frame with a tightening stomach and was greeted by Rugby-boy bombing down the corridor. Number two son screeched to a breathless halt in front of me. His eyes sparkled mischievously, and he sported a huge grin from ear to ear. “Mum, these make brilliant slingshots! Can I keep it, please?”
I gaped at the high precision weapon he had been using for lethal combat all afternoon: a bog-standard Marks & Sparks G-string. No frills, no fuss. It suddenly gave a whole new meaning to “make love, not war”.
A ball of school paper flew through the doorway, and Bigfoot lumbered in. He was ready to launch the next missile, jammed in the gusset of a formerly favourite pair of undies whilst the remaining elastic creaked dangerously. “Come on, Mum, you’re too old for that kind of underwear now, and it’s not as if it fits you any more”, he jibed before firing at me and chasing his brother back down the corridor.
He was right. Trying to wear them now would be like attempting to fit a newborn’s hair-band around a rhino’s behind, and would entail running the risk of looking like the saucisson on sale at the local market, bulging out of tightly-knotted string as it dangles over the counter. I sadly acquiesced that I am now more parachute than slingshot, and that comfort had finally taken over from the temptation to be a hot-to-trot domestic goddess. But shorties are feminine too, son of mine. So there.