My son recently announced that he was going to live with me forever.
"But what about when you meet a girl and want to get married?" I asked.
He wrinkled his nose in disgust.
"Ugh. No. I want to live with you, here, forever."
The 'here' part particularly made my stomach sink. Ever since I split from my son's dad I have been having a head and heart struggle over whether or not I should stay in the family home.
Part of me desperately wants to move away; I have lived in the same town for almost 40 years and once my son has to change schools in two years time, I will have absolutely no reason to stay living here.
But another part of me is inextricably tied to my home; the place where my son was born, where all my memories of his babyhood are.
I know of course that I can take those memories anywhere, and will always have them, so I am slowly coming round to the idea – perhaps the realisation – that I will not live in this house forever. But I do not like change, I am not good at it or with it, and I can see that is a trait my son has inherited.
Which worries me.
I know all children – because they ARE children – struggle with the concept of ever moving away from their parents. Just in the same way it is hard for us as parents to see our child beyond the stage they are at now. (So we agonise when they are three about how they might cope at senior school for example, because we can only imagine them being THREE and having to deal with their heads being flushed down the loo Grange Hill style).
But I also worry that because it is just me and him that my son could turn into one of those - forgive me - weird men who live forever with their mums. Who at 40 trot off down the street with an old lady shopping bag over their arm at the same time every morning to pick up the daily supplies. Who maybe stop for a swift half in the local – where they are known as 'that man who lives with his mum' - before saying to no one in particular, 'got to go now, got to get back to mum'. And mum (me!) will be at home in old lady clothes waiting with a bowl of hot soup and a sandwich and a gentle telling off about the swift half in the pub.
And, in my head, obviously all this will be because I brought him up on my own as a single parent.
So action must be taken (signing the both of us up to a dating agency forthwith, maybe?) because I simply cannot allow myself to see out my dotage as the mother of the man who lives with his mum...