My two 'boys' are technically adults now, but circumstances mean they are still living in the family home, which is lovely; but it does mean I have had to train myself to make vague, general enquiries, like, 'Will you be eating with us this evening?', rather than to give voice to what I'm actually thinking: Where are you going? Who with? What are you going to do when you get there? Will it be safe and legal? When will you be back? What will you do about food? Have you got your wallet/keys/phone? and, most damning of all, Don't forget to go to the toilet before you leave.
I know I'm controlling, but I'm trying hard not to be. Then this morning I thought I'd had a breakthrough. It was almost lunchtime and I was working away at my computer when I got a text from my first born:
'Hey, just letting you know I'm OK. Crashed at a mates last night. CU later. xx'
I went upstairs and tapped on his bedroom door. Not surprisingly, there was no reply. I had assumed a closed door meant he was still slumbering, but hadn't felt the need to check. A triumph in my battle to untie the apron strings!
But then I started to picture a different scene:
A weary policeman leans towards me over the desk. 'Are you telling me,' he says, 'that you didn't even realise your son was missing? What kind of mother are you?'
Oh dear. Something else to feel bad about.