Living with teenagers is a bit like trying to keep upright in a violent storm. It takes a huge amount of energy just to stay standing - and when the wind drops, you fall over.
On Friday night, we were alone in the house. Our eldest was at a barbecue in Greenwich, our middle son was on a school trip, and our 16-year-old daughter was out babysitting.
It was eerily quiet. There was no thumping bass. There were no crashing footsteps hurtling down the stairs. No doors slammed.
'I keep feeling there's something missing,' said my husband.
'There is,' I said. 'Chaos.'
Years ago, a night with no junior Kavanaghs would have seen us hurtling headlong to the pub. But these days, we can go out any time we want. What's much more exciting is having the house to ourselves. We can stretch out on the sofa. We can choose the channel we want. We can watch TV without being called upon to referee the battle of the last chocolate biscuit.
We'd rented a DVD of The Social Network. It was quite strange watching a film uninterrupted by nail varnish fumes and the pling of text messages.
'What I don't understand,' I said, as the credits rolled up, 'is how Facebook was making money.'
My husband blinked in surprise. 'What?' he said.
'The part where they were trying to get finance,' I said.
'I think I might have missed that bit,' he said.
It was some time before I realised he'd fallen asleep halfway through.
So this is what happens. You spend years trying to make yourself heard above the din and then, once the teenagers leave, you're so stunned by the silence you crash out.
Now I understand why retired people have dogs. You need the odd bark to keep you awake.
Catch up on Surviving Teenagers here.
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