The little boy and I lie meshed on the sofa. Fevers are raging, cheeks are flushed and we’re practically branding each other. We’re watching Mamma-Mia and singing along to S.O.S.
When it comes to ABBA, our jury is out. They rock. The boy and I are unanimous in our adoration. For me, it’s a 26 year old bug, whereas he was infected this summer. I don’t particularly love the movie – it’s fun, it’s light, but its definitely not on my “must-watch-till-entire-family-is-nauseated” list.
It’s really about the evergreen quality of the music, and the joy I get from seeing my son gripped by the same feelings I was beseiged by all those years ago, riding in our Volkswagen Polo, absolutely electrified by the disco beats of Dancing Queen. My father was driving me to the dentist and I was so lost in the music that I forgot to dread the dentist’s chair.
Now I’m tickled pink by this little slip of a lad singing Pierce Brosnan’s lines with great feeling.
“Where are those happy days, they seem so hard to find
I tried to reach for you, but you have closed your mind
Whatever happened to our love, I wish I understood
It used to be so nice, it used to be so gooooood”.
Yes, I know. Not age-appropriate, but it’s his favourite song and ABBA does this to you. They suck you in and make you a goof, a complete sucker for the feelings they are peddling.
We have a wonderful time till Slipping Through My Fingers comes on. I have always loved this song. However, I have never heard it with my son snuggled on my lap and Meryl’s Streep’s voice filled with loss and longing washing over us.
I’m hit by the sudden realisation that this is exactly what I’m doing now. Trying to capture every minute, the feeling in it. Holding on tight to the feverish little body, wanting to freeze the frame and bottle every minute detail of this precious moment. Dreading the day that he won’t want to snuggle against me. Trying to fight the well-known surge of sadness for all the years that have raced by. Guilt for all the time spent in a world that is not his.
I’m annoyed by the tears brimming in my eyes and try to suppress the sigh trying to escape me.
My ever-perceptive son whips his head around and looks at me keenly.
“You like this song, Mamma?” His eyes are wide; his palm hot on my cheek.
I nod mutely, not trusting myself to speak. Forgive your mother for being the patron saint of the Water Works, son. Rest assured that I will be raining out your birthdays, confirmation, graduation, maybe your wedding one day….
He turns his attention back to the TV, arms now clasped around my neck and head on my heart.
“This is the bestest time ever, Mamma” he murmurs.
The mother comes undone.
Presented by WaterWorks Inc. for your viewing pleasure.