Child 1 has been desperate to travel home alone from school on the train for months now, and I’ve resisted, driving into Basingstoke to pick her up after every after school club activity. Today, finally, I relented. But rather than let her fly solo immediately I took the train to meet her, and then shadowed her back, far enough away to be invisible most of the time. She was fine – of course – walking unerringly to the station, using the machine to get her ticket as if she’d been commuting all her life. Finally we reached our platform, the train pulled in, and we both – separately – got on. As we started to pull out of the station I saw her looking around for me, but she didn’t spot me wedged in a few rows back.
A text flashed up on my phone: ‘Where on the train are you?’
And I just couldn’t help myself. I texted back:
‘DON’T TELL ME YOU GOT ON THE TRAIN!!! THAT’S THE WRONG TRAIN!!!!’
I watched surreptitiously as she read the text, stiffened, and started frantically texting back, before suddenly jumping to her feet and starting to run back down the train. What her plan was I’m not sure, but before she could hit the emergency stop or try to jump out of the window I stood up and called her back. I so wish I’d thought to film this. Panic, suprise, relief, dawning realisation, fury, helpless laughter, all in the space of around 3 seconds.
I do realise this makes me a Bad Mummy, but oh, it was worth it.
Here’s the full conversation: