We are off to my cousin Maggie’s wedding.
8. 58 A.M.
Inform Matilda, outside her bedroom door, she will not be wearing her chosen wedding outfit – a revealing minuscule white dress which looks like a bra plus a belt.
“I don’t understand why you need to show my entire family your belly button Matilda,” I say.
Matilda stamps her foot. “You don’t understand me!’ she shouts.
“We are going to a family wedding and NOT a nightclub in Ibiza!” I scream back at her.
‘I hate you!’ yells Matilda.
‘Change your dress!’ I shout.
Her bedroom door is slammed in my face.
I am still arguing through Matilda’s bedroom door over her bra belt dress.
Toby, my youngest son, is sat on the top stair playing his games console.
As Matilda and I take a breath in our screaming match he says ‘Mam your legs look all stripy!’
‘What?’ I shriek, sticking out my bare leg to take a further look. I tell myself that Toby does have a vivid imagination
Groan at my stripy orange fake tan legs.
I did get a bit carried away last night with my fake bake and half a bottle of Pinot Grigio.
Brian appears on the landing to hand over keys for his car.
Have a three-way discussion; scream at Matilda, reassure Brian that I am in the right frame of mind to drive his beloved car to a family wedding and tell Toby that no one will notice my stripy legs.
I am informed by Matilda (through the door) that her Facebook friends think I am an evil mother, for not letting her be herself (wear a dress that looks like a white bra and belt) at the wedding.
Apparently her ‘let me be myself” video, which she has just recorded, has already received 50 shares and is being uploaded onto YouTube.
9. 17 A.M.
Give up the fight and allow Matilda to wear her bra belt dress.
Reassure myself that everything will be ok with the following points:
- It’s a small family wedding. We all know each other.
- All males are on their best behaviour at family weddings.
- Matilda has a sixth form boyfriend who helps her with her maths homework every Saturday.
- I have to trust her at some point.
- I will be there to watch over her.
Squeeze myself, Matilda and Harry, my middle child plus two heavy suitcases, into Brian’s small hatchback.
We are only going for one night but Matilda got carried away with toiletries, makeup, perfume and hair products.
Drive off. Turn up radio.
Screech back into street as I have forgotten Toby. He is still sat on the top of the stairs playing his games console.
10. 34 A.M.
Arrive at hotel and venue of the wedding in a sweaty fluster.
Parking the car proved difficult. Matilda insisted on filling the air inside the car with her hair spray and perfume.
Parking has never been one of my strong points. I think I coped remarkably well considering I couldn’t see or breathe.
Will phone Brian later about the scratch down one side.
10. 35 A.M.
Tell myself that I am being paranoid. All eyes in the venue are not on Matilda and her bra belt dress.
Ok so everyone is staring at us.
Greet family members. Notice that a few frowns are cast at Matilda’s outfit.
Speak to family members and my parents. My mother cannot believe my hell raising cousin, Maggie, has found someone to marry her.
I can’t quite believe it myself. When her text came through a month ago that she was getting married I was eating a Snickers bar at the time and nearly choked in shock.
Everyone recalls Maggie’s legendary 5 day parties, the Ibiza holiday where she got arrested and her affair with the married man in her office.
I am astonished at how much the family know about Maggie’s antics. I am so glad I am like a closed book to the family.
Matilda announces to family members that ‘Aunty Maggie’ is her heroine. I look away as every adult in the room seems to chuck me a concerned look and my mother nudges me in the ribs.
Sit in room where wedding ceremony is due to take place. Pretend I am listening to my mother rabbit on about her four-hour car journey down to wedding venue and her latest gall bladder issue.
Look around at cheap floral displays and tired looking hotel room. Make mental note not to use this hotel when I get married. Someday.
Tell Toby to put his games console away and Harry to spit out his chewing gum.
Matilda has vanished.
Great Aunt Vera locates Matilda, by pointing in her direction with her raised walking stick. She is stood talking at the back of the room with a young hotel waiter.
“You will have your work cut out with her in the future Roxy,” says Great Aunt Vera, shaking her head with disapproval at Matilda, so much that I worry her huge floral hat will fall off.
All I can do is nod and cast a worried look in Matilda’s direction.
“Good grief your legs look an odd colour Roxy!” exclaims Great Aunt Vera, now pointing at my legs, with her walking stick.
“Mam said no one would notice,” pipes up Toby.
“We all noticed her legs as soon as she came in,” said Great Aunt Vera, shaking her head at my legs. “We all said Roxy had too many glasses of wine last night whilst putting on her fake tan!”
All I can do is sigh and look away.
Everyone is waiting for the bride. She is seven minutes late.
Vince, her groom, looks anxious and is stood at the front of the room.
Matilda comes to take her seat by me.
“Mam the waiter wants to take me for a pizza tonight – can I go?” she whispers.
“No!” I screech. “We are at a family wedding!”
“I hate you!” screams Matilda, causing everyone to look round at me and my mother to dig me yet again in the ribs.
Great Aunt Vera taps me on the shoulder with her walking stick. “I told you!” she says and points at Matilda. ‘That one is going to be trouble in years to come Roxy!”
We are still sat waiting for Maggie, the bride.
Matilda has vanished, again.
Vince the groom is on his mobile phone and is pacing the room.
The boys are bored. I tell Toby to take his games console out and give Harry back his gum.
Announcement by John, Vince’s father, Maggie climbed out of her hotel window earlier this morning and did a runner to Greece. Gasps and shrieks are let out from older female relatives.
The wedding has been postponed. John sees this as just a ‘blip’ and that he’s sure Maggie and Vince can work through this.
Great Aunt Vera starts to mutter “what a waste of time John!”
My mother whispers to me “they think Maggie has run off with body builder from the gym!”
Maggie’s father is apparently taking the first flight to Greece to track her down.
Everyone in shock, except Great Aunt Vera, who apparently saw this happening in her tea leaves.
Matilda appears by my side grinning. I sense trouble. Her lipstick is smudged and she smells of aftershave.
I tell myself that she must have wiped her mouth with her hand and stood next to someone with powerful aftershave.
Matilda confesses she has been kissing the waiter in the kitchens. She told him she was eighteen.
After giving her one of my ‘mother death stares’ about the waiter revelation I tell her about Aunty Maggie.
Matilda gushes in quite a loud voice “OMG Aunty Maggie is sooooooo cool!”
I am again tapped on the shoulder by Great Aunt Vera. “I have changed my mind” she says. ‘That one (points walking stick at Matilda) is already trouble Roxy!’