My 25-year-old twin sons have finally moved out, the last one in December, which was about seven years later than expected.
You’ve never seen someone clear out cupboards so fast – I had those old pyjamas bottoms, bad art and heinous polyester basketball singlets bundled up and binned in about an hour. You wouldn’t know they’d ever lived here.
There were no sporting trophies to lovingly display anywhere because, somehow, they managed get themselves off the Saturday sports roll for the last four years of school, a feat so daring and un-Australian it was mentioned by the college principal at their graduation ceremony.
Now they are happily living their lives and I barely hear from them, so I have begun a great family tradition in honour of my mother by constantly mentioning upcoming birthdays and invented days of celebration, such as Mother’s Day, weeks in advance.
This is done by text, or email, even DMs, as is too easy for them to avoid an actual phone call. I like to send photos of suggested gifts just to torture them, although I jumped the gun on my birthday in March by sending a shot of some fluffy slippers, then quickly changing my mind and texting a link some expensive velvet sandals, but they had already taken the first route.
They are used to my wildly unrealistic gift suggestions by now, having explained to them at age 11 that those diamante earrings were quite nice, thank you, but buying something from Tiffany is a much better long-term investment.
For the last three weeks, they’ve been getting random photos and links that require little to no explanation – a photo of a delicious baked lamb roast, a link to a Matt Moran restaurant’s booking site, and then various gift ideas – a Gucci lipstick in a gorgeous old fashion floral case, a horribly expensive Jo Malone room fragrance diffuser that doesn’t exist in this country, cashmere trackpants from an obscure Instagram retailer.
25 years’ hard labour
“Geez, these special occasions never seem to end,” complained son Sam, a sentiment not entirely unrelated to the fact that I never really anticipated having to care about what he and his brother were having for dinner for 25 years.
I sent through US Vogue’s insane list of Mother’s Day gifts suggestions just to toy with them, items so arbitrary it’s hilarious, from a Gucci “neck bow” for Zoom calls, to a set of designer olive oils and a $5000 Chanel bag.
My mother used to do the same thing to me, calling to give me her Mother’s Day wish list somewhere around February, but her options were a little more sedate: a dressing gown (hers would be from Katies; my requests now would be La Perla) or fragrance (Mum, Elizabeth Arden; me, some Tom Ford concoction that retails at around $400).
As it turns out, the boys aren’t fazed in the slightest by my preposterous demands, and for Christmas they gifted me with a Julia Gillard mug. I love it.