Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sausages and The Washing Machine

In 1997 I took a week away from my family in Norway to visit my family in England. It was the first time I'd been 'home' in 7 years. At this point Paul was 19 but with a mental age of about 4, Inger Lise was 11 and Linn Marie was just 9.

Bjørn, my partner at the time, drove me to Gardemoen (what was then Oslo's second airport but is now the International airport) and the children came along to see me off.

As we'd arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare, we went upstairs to the café, found a seat by the big windows that overlooked the aircraft bays and enjoyed a slice of cake or two together.

I'd noticed that Linn Marie was unusually quiet but thought it was probably that she was already missing her mum, knowing I'd be away for a whole week. And let's face it, at that age a week can feel like an eternity, can't it?

When Bjørn left the table for a quick visit to the loo, Linn Marie moved closer to me and said "Mum, I'm really worried, y'know".

Bless her, I thought. She's concerned that the plane might crash or something equally as awful. "What's the matter, babe?" I asked.

"I'm worried about what we're going to eat and whether I'll have any clean clothes for school. You see, Dad only knows how to make hotdogs and I don't think he knows how to use the washing machine."

I couldn't help but smile. The things that go through the minds of little 'uns, eh?

I assured her that she could survive on hotdogs for a week, although I was sure he'd be able to make a few other things, too. I knew for a fact he could make pizza and boil potatoes - it's just that with me around, he'd never had to so she'd never seen him do anything other than heat up the odd pan of hotdogs for supper now and then if I happened to be out. As for the washing machine, she did have a point, but I'd made sure the wardrobes and drawers were full of enough clean clothes to keep them going for the week.

When I came back, I was met at the airport by a smiling child who assured me that everything had been fine. Sure, they'd eaten a good few hotdogs, but they'd also had burgers and mash, meatballs and potatoes and a couple of rice dishes out of a packet.

"From now on, Mum," she said. "If you're not worried about something, I'm not going to worry about it, either."

How's that for trust?



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