The Family Romantic

Teenage boy in front sitting in front of building in London mews
Cheeky from the day he was born, No. 2 Son has become the family romantic.

There are many wonderful things about Permanently Jet Lagged Husband but the family romantic he is not. This is a man who called his girlfriend (me) at work to ask if she thought it was all right if he went to ask her father’s permission for her hand in marriage. Yes, that’s how he proposed to me. And lovely girlfriend of No. 1 Son, if you are reading this, I’m afraid my first born takes after his father on this one. Do not despair, he does have many other good qualities. But then again, you have probably worked all of that out already.
Until recently, I thought that I was the family romantic.  During university, I once stuffed all the pockets of my boyfriend’s clothing with chocolate Easter eggs. Because we were going to be apart — oh, so tragic — during the Easter break, I wanted to remind him of me each time he put his hands in his pockets. If I remember correctly, his mother was not very pleased to discover all that melted chocolate in the wash.

It’s recently come to light that I might have to pass my baton on to the youngest member of our family. In preparation for his month long trip to Cuba at the end of January, No. 2 Son, who is on a gap year, thoughtfully presented his girlfriend with a goodbye present — a beautiful cashmere jumper from Uniglo, paid for with his bartender’s earnings. And just when I thought he was all packed and ready to go, he remembered at 6 pm the evening before his early morning flight that he had to get her a Valentine’s Day present. “But you’re not even going to be here,” I said. “How are you going to give it to her from Cuba?” “Easy mom,” he said, “I arranged it all with a friend of hers. I have to get the present to her tonight and she will surprise my girlfriend with it on Valentine’s Day.” And out the door he went.
Bemused at the thought of my 18 year old son’s actually planning something in advance, I thought smugly, “he’s growing up.”
At 6 am the next morning, he came downstairs sheepishly with the present in his hand. “Mom, I didn’t manage to do the hand-off last night. Would you mind putting this in the post to friend of girlfriend? She is kindly going to pack it in her suitcase to take on their school trip to Italy because that’s where they will both be on Valentine’s Day.” I only gave him a little bit of a hard time. After all, what’s a trip to the post office in the name of romance?

N.B.: Originally published on My Contents Have Shifted; 13 February 2016.

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