Oh God, I really am a bad mother. The news this morning about smoking cannabis and its possible link to psychotic illness, puts me firmly in the wrong.
I never smoked the stuff, though I remember going to a party in Balham many years ago and being given something wacky to smoke, which I didn't like. I took one puff and felt very odd, so didn't ever fancy doing it again. I don't like being out of control, so that was it for me. (Though I did smoke normal cigarettes then, like a chimney.)
But my son and most of his friends! That's a different story. They all smoked the stuff from a fairly early age. Some of them smoked more, or less, than others. And I'm mortified to admit that they smoked it in our garage.(This sounds funny, but it was used as a kind of den, not for putting the car away, but for hanging out, playing music etc.)
This was not with my consent - I made it clear that I didn't approve, but seriously what options did I have? I could have told them all to clear off, smoke and play their music somewhere else. But where? Would they have been on the streets and
getting into serious trouble? Or having accidents because they were completely out of it? Probably. At least in the garage I knew where they were; I could make sure they were safe. I didn't feel comfortable with it, but there it was.
A few months ago, my son looked at some photographs from those days and said "I don't know why you didn't put me into rehab, Mum." Maybe it was a semi-joke, but how did that make me feel? Awful. I froze inside when he said it. What was the matter with me? Why didn't I do just that? Because I scurried from day to day, keeping my head down? No, but if I knew what was happening, shouldn't I have done something? I worried all the time. I tried to keep an eye on him. It sounds completely feeble I know, and maybe if his father had been around it would have been different. (Of course it was about then that his father moved to the other side of the world - which is probably the worst thing that could happen to a young man who's just feeling his way into manhood.) With hindsight, that wonderful thing, I can see this all too clearly. O.K. I was coping on my own with two teenagers. But that's no excuse. My only conclusion is that I was in the wrong. I should have done something more positive.
All this peering at the past isn't healthy. The past is something we can do nothing about! So I took myself off for a windy walk along the seafront, to blow the cobwebs away. It didn't remove the guilt, or even make it more palatable. I walked listening to my ipod; the one given to me two years ago by Son. Not only did he buy me an iPod nano, but he also spent hours putting my favourite music on it. So now I can walk and listen to 10cc singing "I'm not in Love"; The Beach Boys singing "Good Vibrations"; "Fur Elise", "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"; Queen singing "We are the Champions", and two hundred odd other wonderful tunes that he chose, knowing how I love them. This makes me cry.
"Oh God", I want to wail at the moon, "Why wasn't I a better Mother?" But my mother always said that I was a drama queen. She may have been right.