27/08/2010 22:18 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

The Semi-Detached Parent: Truth Or Dare

I visited my parents whilst my son was away.

They had a family friend round for tea.

"Are you missing Will?" the visitor asked. "Of course," I said, adding through only slightly gritted teeth: "But I'm sure he's having a great time with his dad."

"Why didn't you go with them?" she questioned.

Then I realised. My parents hadn't told her about the split.
I glanced at my mum who was giving me one of her 'looks'. My skills at deciphering her eyebrow position and pursedness of lip have been finely honed over 37 years. This one, mouth in a tight circle like a cat's bum and one eyebrow disappearing at speed into her fringe, undoubtedly said: Don't you dare tell her the truth.

"Work commitments," I said, cheerfully. "And I thought it would be nice for Will to have some time on his own with his dad."

"Kelly and her partner live pretty independently. More tea?" my mum cut in, wielding the teapot, cheeks crimson, obviously desperate to change the subject.

You bet we do, I thought to myself.

I asked my mum later why she had gone to such lengths to hide the truth about my separation. She flushed and shrugged her shoulders. I let it go. I knew why. Because she is ashamed. She doesn't want her friends to think her daughter is, effectively, a single parent. She doesn't want them to know her child's relationship failed.

But what she doesn't realise is, neither does her daughter; it's just that I live in the real world.