I happened to be driving past Betty's school at home-time last Friday, so I decided to surprise my little darling by collecting her in the car, rather than meeting her off the school bus. I also wanted to demonstrate to the teachers that I do still exist and care.
I was greeted by her teacher who turned to Betty and enthusiastically said 'Look, isn't that lovely, your mum has come to pick you up!' This immediately made me feel like a neglectful parent. Betty gave me a big smile and took my hand, and began tugging me towards the car, eager to tell me all about her day, I imagined.
As I got dragged across the car park by a silent Betty who was probably too overcome with joy and excitment to talk, I had pangs of guilt and wondered whether, despite her insisting on the whole bus thing, I was damaging my child by letting her do it at such a tender age. Would she grow up with feelings of abandonment and neglect, and would it be soley my fault if she turned to a life of crime?
These doubts were short-lived. As soon as we were safely in the confines of the car and out of her teacher's earshot, Betty turned on me: 'Why are you here Mummy? I was really looking forward to going on the bus with my friends, you've ruined it now'. 'There is always tomorrow,' I reasoned. 'Tomorrow is too far away,' she retorted stroppily. She made me promise I wouldn't do it again, and it took a KitKat bribe to get her to be nice to me again.