Saturday, 19 October 2013


The day began well for some of us, less well for others. 

I scored a lie-in, as the kids inexplicably decided not to get up until a reasonable hour.

My night shift-surviving husband, however (still wiping the sleepy dust out of his eyes as he surfaced just before midday) was greeted with the following zinger from me: “Hi, you have remembered we’re off on a girls’ lunch today, and by the way you’re taking your son to Jungle Jim’s play centre at 1 o’clock, luvyoubye.” 

It was a mum and daughter's meal out, no boys allowed, which we try to organise every few weeks. My son’s invitation to the wacky warehouse circle of hell had come after we’d arranged our trip, so the hospital pass to my husband give me the merest pang (actually, no, just a tiny ping) of guilt.

Meanwhile, we settled down for some civilised lunching. My girl polished off some hot olives. She demolished a salad. Her favoured tabasco-soaked Virgin Mary was slurped. As usual, the spices were as hot as my daughter’s anticipation, but there was one difference today: a special guest.

The VIP was pint-sized, and not exactly loquacious, but captivating company all the same. Looking at her gave me a Proustian rush rushy enough to make my head spin. My daughter was fascinated with her.

Her name is Scarlett, and she's nearly six months old. She has Prader-Willi Syndrome, just like my 15-year-old daughter. Her mum and me recently met for the first time through that ‘friend of a friend’ coincidence thing that happens online occasionally.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember what my girl was like as a baby. How helpless she seemed, with her floppy muscles and uncertain future. How beautiful and terrifying she was. I wish I could head back there with some white spirit and dissolve the fear that coated my feelings like sticky gloss paint. I wish I could have had a sneak preview of this photo: a teenager in pink jeans and matching lip gloss, holding a PWS baby, and beaming. I wish I could have seen her being so grown-up: offering calorie information and diet tips to Scarlett's mum; and asking a stream of questions about how her baby fed, slept, cried, and played. 

Just four girls meeting up for lunch. 

But it was so much more.

Thanks, Hannah and Scarlett, for a lovely day. Made even more lovely for Hannah, I'm sure, by the fact that in the same way I was swerving an afternoon in an indoor play centre, she managed to miss a kids' party with a clown. Oh God, Oh God, a CLOWN.

Video is Dexy's Midnight Runners - The Teams That Meet In Caffs


  1. Beautiful in every way xxx

  2. We had an absolutely lovely lunch and meeting Josie has allowed me to quiet some of the more terrified thoughts that run through my head on the days that are tough. An intelligent, inquisitive girl with one hell of a taste for spicy beverages!
    Oh yes, and no clown huge bonus to my day......

  3. Happy that you had such a beautiful day ! I cannot help but wonder how does Josie fare when the kitchen is unlocked. Take care