The older Tom gets, the harder I find it to leave him. Which is odd, given the fact I happily went away without him when he was younger. Time spent with a five year old is more fun than that with a baby, I suppose. In a moment of madness (I’m quite prone to those) I decided I would take him to Glastonbury. He’s long out of nappies, he loves his music and Rastamouse and Da Easy Crew were playing. It seemed a shame – a bit reckless, even – to leave him with a succession of (brilliant) babysitters while I went off to an event that he would probably really enjoy. I went to meet him from school, bursting with the news.
“Oh Mum,” he said, sounding fifteen, not five, “I thought I was going to have four sleepovers while you were at Glastonbury.”
“Well yes, but I thought you wanted to see Rastamouse.”
“I do, but I thought you said Glastonbury was a lot of walking.”
“Well, it is to be honest with you.”
“Well, can I not just have my sleepovers and watch Rastamouse on the telly?”
Sometimes he makes more sense than me. That was my ticket to go and have a weekend off. A wonderful weekend off. Glastonbury really is the best of the bunch, even in the relentless rain. If Tom was there, I would have been zipped in a tent when Bobby Gillespie slinked around beneath the lasers in his silver shirt, or when everyone was sloshing around Shangrila, or during various other very good moments that happened after dark.
Every time I saw a sopping wet screaming toddler or a little boy losing his wellies in the mud, I felt I’d made the right choice. Then on the last day, I met a lovely little girl who’d had a brilliant Glastonbury. I couldn’t bear to go and see Rastamouse and Da Easy Crew without Tom, so I asked her for her verdict.
“They were really, really good,” she said, very seriously.
She’d almost lost a wobbly tooth in the mud, but the tooth fairy didn’t know where to find her tent at Glastonbury, so we concluded that she would probably come and pay her a visit once she was home.
“Talking to you makes me wish I had brought my little boy with me,” I said.
“You’re joking aren’t you?” said her mother through gritted teeth, “I wish I’d come with friends.”
I wandered over to the kids’ field after that and bought Tom a book from the book stall.
By Monday morning, I couldn’t wait to see him. I got stuck in traffic on the way back, so it was nearly Tom’s bedtime by the time I arrived home. I dumped my rucksack in the hallway and ran round to Anna’s in my wellies, clutching the book. Tom came to the door and I braced myself for the biggest hug.
“Oh Mum,” he said, rolling his eyes, “I’m just in the middle of decorating some cakes.”
And that was my welcome home.