So, here’s the thing.

It was my son’s birthday yesterday and all the family including my two daughters were all here celebrating in our very green garden. He doesn’t want me to name him or say how old he is in case some of his friends twig that I am his mother.  Of course they know that I am his mother but they don’t know that, and he said this in a voice of utter mortification, ‘His mother has published two steamy romantic novels with ‘good’ bits in them.’ Or that she’s in the process of writing even more romantic stories. Excuse me?

He won’t be saying that when we’re sunning ourselves in Fiji on a beach of sugar white sand sipping cocktails while Sven’s cleaning our sunglasses and serving us fresh fruit. Anyway, I got my own back by reminding him of the twenty-eight hours of labour I went through to bring him into the world. He was three weeks late (started life as he obviously means to go on) and almost ten pounds. I can actually feel all the women reading this wince in feminine solidarity. Thanks girls.

Now I’m used to him treating me like a taxi service, and a portable cash machine. But he’s fine with what I do when it suits him to treat me like a newsagent ‘Do you have the latest edition of GQ?’ And I’m a library, ‘Do you happen to have that copy of A Game of Thrones?’ And new technology disappears into the jungle of detritus that is his bedroom. And he’s actually building a new computer with his friend, so you’d think he’d be helpful with my new Mac. But not a bit of it, ‘This technology is wasted on you.’ I was told in a voice edged with utter disdain. (I should point out that he made the comment because I was having trouble switching it on.)

Why is it that derision and goading comes as naturally as teething and nappy rash used to. There’s nothing my son likes to do more than tell me what to do. Just recently he had a go because I used the word ‘cool’ on twitter. Apparently I’m no longer permitted to use the word ‘wicked’ either. Then his sisters’ got in on the act reminiscing about the time I used to teach Dance Fit and would start to boogie in Gap when a Madonna song came on and ‘totally mortified them all the time in public.’

Hugo just grinned (traitor) and reminded me of a time I really embarrassed myself on a bus when my eldest was a toddler in the days when I didn’t get out much. I was pregnant with my second daughter, (apparently you lose 30% of your brain capacity when pregnant – that’s my excuse) anyway, the toddler was being babysat by the daughter of a friend and I was alone on a bus going to meet Hugo when he finished work for an early dinner with friends. It was a lovely summer evening and since we lived in the country the fields were alive with cows and sheep and fields ready to be harvested. So I was sort of daydreaming and totally forgot I didn’t have the toddler with me. ‘Oh look!’ I cried in a high chirpy voice. ‘Cows! Tell me, what do cows do?’ And I swear to God I will never, ever live this down, at least twenty people on the bus all cried ‘Moooooo.’ They did, along with roaring with laughter.

So a good time was had by all yesterday as my family basically took the mickey. But I got my own back, I asked my son, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ Hinting that the time was fast approaching when he’d need to start fending for himself. But he just batted the question right back to us. Hugo said he’d wanted to join the army or the police but his eyesight let him down. ‘When I was twelve I decided I wanted to be a nurse or a doctor,’ I said, scooping up a spoonful of birthday cake and thinking nothing of it.

‘Really?’ said my son without an ounce of derision. ‘So what you’re really saying, mother, is that you had more ambition as a child than you did as an adult.’

The sooner he moves into a flea-bitten tiny apartment, living on tins of baked beans and doing his own laundry, the better.

So come on guys and girls. Tell me, have your parents ever embarrassed you? Or have you ever embarrassed them?

Which birthday was THE best one ever?

Share it with us, you know I love to hear from you.

Oh, and the pictures above are of my garden. We’ve actually had three whole days of summer, but clouds are gathering so it might not last. And The Olympic ceremony starts tonight so I’ll put good money on it we get thunderstorms and fat rain over the next few weeks.


  1. For using the word ‘cool’ on Twitter? LOL Wow. I bet being a mom inspires some of your fiction…?

    My siblings and I royally embarrassed my parents on their 15th wedding anniversary. We saved up all our coins and threw a surprise party, equipped with a singing gorilla telegram. All fun, though my parents aren’t exactly big on being the center of attention. It’s been a long-running family joke since.

  2. Love the pictures of your garden. Beautiful. Your son sounds quite normal. Believe me, once he’s on his own and Mamma isn’t feeding him or doing the laundry his attitude will change. The best part will come when he has a child of his own. If he wants a babysitter he’d better suck up and mean it.

  3. I’m with Prudence. Love the garden pics! Very beautiful. I’m still giggling over the “this technology is wasted on you.” LOL I feel like it’s wasted on me most days.

    We’ve always had girls in the family until my first great nephew was born two and a half years ago. Even that young, it’s a BIG difference. About a month ago we had a family gathering and I was in my sister’s bedroom chatting with her. The nephew came in (now remember – he’s two), got on the bed and basically attacked (of course it’s my fault, I tickled him first). Holy cow! I was down in a flash and couldn’t get him off me. Of course it probably didn’t help that I was laughing so hard I nearly wet myself. I can’t imagine I’ll win anything once he’s five.

    • Aww, he’s only two and he attacked you? LOL!. My son is the only boy in both sides of the family. Can you imagine? Ruined, he’s been utterly ruined by us all. I spared the rod which might have been a mistake.

      But you’re right, boys are completely different from girls. Although I will say he’s pretty good at the surprise hug and not only when he wants something.

  4. Your garden is beautiful and I love the cow story! I’m sure I embarrassed my parents a lot, I just get think up any of them at the moment:) We’ve only got girls around here, but I have nephews and things are just different with boys than with girls. Different, but still fun:)

    • Hi Kara, lovely to see you here!

      The garden is incredibly green after the continuous rain we’ve had for the last ten weeks. Things are definitely different, you’re right, and they are fun – in a strange and complex way!

  5. OMG! (I’m a rebel) I did that too…only not so many witnesses. We had left my 2 yr. old home with a babysitter to pick up some relatives from the airport. Driving home…yep, you guessed it, I spotted a whole field of cows. “OOO…look, cows!” I said before I could stop myself. 🙂

    Beautiful garden! And don’t worry, they’re right, your son will change his tune when he enters “real life”. Though, he’ll probably still give you a hard time about the technology thing.

    • Hi Shannon,

      I’m glad it’s not just me and the cows! God, it was so funny, and everyone on the bus totally got it! Sigh, those were the days. And you’re right, he’ll always give me a hard time about technology. I am a luddite.

      Just off now to watch the opening Olympic ceremony so I won’t be on line for a few hours!

      Keep the comments coming!

  6. Your cow story had me roaring with laughter, too. I’m the mother of grown daughters but spent time this past weekend with two of my nephews–ages 13 and 16. Conversation started off about landmines and which was more lethat: the blast or the shrapnel. It then segued to possible punishments for the Penn State football program, whether the Aurora-theater shooter can get a fair trial in Colorado, and graffitti as art. I was exhausted. My daughters are smart and capable women, but it seems to me they talked a lot about eye liner and Saved by the Bell when they were young. Derision crosses genders. Once upon a time, I asked my older daughter to show me how to upload a photo. She snorted and said, “The same way you upload anything, Get with the program, Mom.”

    Your garden’s beautiful. A neighbor’s son used to pee in her flowerbeds. She was convinced it helped the soil’s pH.

    • ROFL! ‘Get with the program, Mom.’ Yes, yes, it’s the same in this house. I’m not a stupid person, usually. But technology gets me every single time. Why can’t they keep it simple and have a world standard for formatting and keyboards? It’s not too much to ask, is it?

      Yep, peeing in the flowerbeds will do it. As you can see mine have had plenty!

  7. The cow story had me laughing out loud Christine–so funny! And my son’s eyes might end up permanently skyward if he continues all the eye rolling in my presence. 🙂 Oh and I am with you on the big baby birthing–my kids were 2 weeks late and over 9 lbs. I won’t let them forget it either!

    • The eye rolls, YES! Mine do that too, all the time and it seriously ticks me off!

      You know, my girls were 6 lbs 1oz and 6 lbs 2oz – easy peasy. The boy was number three and if he’d been number one, seriously, Hugo would never have been able to come near me again without two sets of birth control. The pill and two rubber gloves before love – I mean it!

  8. Hi! Yes, I love boys! I’ve got two… and the second one was 10 lbs even. Ugh… you know it! So far I don’t think I’ve embarrassed them… only because they’re still young and don’t know any better! I’m just waiting for it. Gulp!

  9. Smiling big! I have so many ?? For you.
    I love my boy n my two girls but he’s very hardto handle, I think it’s the teenage id thing, growing n independence. You must let go by increments. My dad took movies every year with us five kids on the stairs ya know before we could run to the Christmas tree presents. Let’s just say in those days girls wore nightgowns as in flannel to bed n dads movie turned out x rated. Embarrassment does not begin to describe the humility thus experienced. Over it now lol. In those days you had spotlights for light, as in blinding. I do not want to embarrass my kids but I suppose I have in a small way, singing in the car for the girls n my boy bragging about him or calling him Jethro or Bruce Wayne in the bat cave, a couple years ago. He gives me minimal time to grasp the computer when I ask him, rolling his eyes, etc. BTW I’m writing fiction, drama w/romance and want some sizzle but really want the story to stand out. Can an author have it both ways, as I do not want to rub anybody the wrong way or turn them off or away as I have no Readers yet? I really need an answer for that. I am writing but have not been a big reader for many years, so I don’t know what’s acceptable or not. Not that I have to fit in, I’m just wanting to reach many and not a select few. Help!

    • Hello gardenlilie,

      My son isn’t particularly hard to handle, it’s just that he’s got his mother’s big mouth and a scalpel sharp brain.

      Drama with romance? Yes, you can have it both ways. These days you can have what you want and if you like reading a bit of sizzle then go for it. What I’d say is that you need to target the demographic your writing for, age group, etc. Most women readers of romance today don’t like the bedroom door closed unless that’s the market you’re aiming for.

      I’d suggest reading as many up to date best sellers as you can get your hands on in your preferred genre because styles have most definitely changed. Readers like writing to be clean and clear and logical with plenty of dialogue with an authentic and valid emotional conflict. They like a reasonably fast paced read too with not too much flowery and flowing descriptive passages and they don’t like us to be ‘writerly’ if you know what I mean? So it all comes down to digging deep into your characters and knowing them really well.

      You can’t worry too much about ‘turning a reader off’ because what works for one won’t for another. So, you really need to write what you want to read and can’t find. It’s taken me a while to get my head around that and I’m still working on it. Hopefully my books are evolving as I explore the concept.

      But you’re doing the right thing to think about it before you begin. Perhaps experiment with scenes and see where your comfort zones are. It’s a strange but true fact that sometimes what we love to read is not where our strengths lie, so trial and error is the way to go – keep an open mind and go for it. You can email me any time on ccmackenzie56ATgmailDOTcom.

  10. Aw, now see, this is what I love about you Christine! You are such a generous person/writer to give our your email address to help someone else!

    Now what about this son of yours. I tell you Christine, I have two of them as you well know. And when the husband and sons gang up it’s not a pretty picture. Oh the McFarland men are so bratty. And you do know McFarland should be MacFarland, aka, Scottsman. Need I say more. Although they do give the Irish a run for their money. Which is not worth very much at the moment. But as you can see, I am outnumbered. That does not mean that I can’t take care of my self mind you. And the youngest son. What is it about their room? The only person he ever listened to was his father. I didn’t not hold back the rod either, so I don’t know Christine. I give up. I’m done raising them now.

    I love your garden! It’s so lush and green, green, green. I didn’t know that furns grow in England. I am surprised. But where are the hedgehogs and babies Christine? Where are they? 🙂



    • Hello Karen,

      The boys are outnumbered in this family three to two.

      How green is my garden! Yes, the baby hedgehogs were partying but haven’t been seen for a few nights – hope nothing’s happened to them!

      And yes we do have amazing ferns – probably got something to do with the rain and lack of sunlight!

    • LOL! Susie,

      Taking the ‘mickey’ means taking the piss out of someone or making fun of them. And not ‘twigging’ something means ‘not getting it’ or not being aware of sarcasm when it’s dished out until it’s too late.

      How are you after all that rubbing shoulders with the famous?

      • You mean James Rollins and the famous Piper Bayard? It was a blast and I am glad that the photos turned out since I am often talking when my picture is being taken.. I don’t know how that happens to me????? 🙂

        With all the hubbub about the Olympics, may I make a request and say that I would love it if you posted a list of common British slang and the meanings.

  11. Great story. I ache for the day that my children start talking down to me. I remember a long time ago we were all playing Trivial Pursuit (remember that game?) and I couldn’t answer a question. My mother scoffed. “We shell out thousands of dollars for your education, and you don’t even know the answer to that?” Ouch.

    I’m sure I have done my fair share of embarrassing things, but I can’t remember anything right now.

    Yes, what is a “mickey” and a “twig” ?

    • 4amWriter,

      Worry not, they’ll be talking down to you soon enough and stealing cookies out of your cookie jar. Ahh, I remember Trivial Pursuit, those were the days.

      Taking the mickey means to tease or mock a person. I think it derived from Cockney rhyming slang in the 1950’s meaning taking the Michael Bliss which morphed into taking the piss which morphed into taking the Michael/Mike/Mickey.

      To ‘twig’ means to ‘catch on’ to the meaning of something that wasn’t quite clear. If anyone has other definitions then feel free to share.

      This is why I love talking to you guys – must remember never to put those quips into my books!

  12. So much fun (and lovely garden pics). I cracked up at the cow story. Priceless. I’m sure I’ve embarrassed my kids plenty and I’m sure I’m not done. How old is your son because he sounds quite a lot like my oldest, who is 16 and 6 feet tall. We are so much alike that we either love to be together snarking about things or we are at each other’s throats. My boys were 9.4 and 9.5 so when their little sister weighed in at a mere 7.7, I thought she was undercooked and needed more time ‘in the oven’.

    My oldest is not with us here at the lake yet. I send him periodic texts to remind him how much he loves me. I ask him, ‘miss me yet’? A couple of his replies — Yes, I need food. Yes, I need a haircut.

    Well … peel me a grape while you’re at it!! 😉

    • He’s about six foot tall. And won’t let me tell you how old he is because he wants his identity kept secret – you just know I’m going to out him one of these days! He’s just popped his head around the door to ask me how I am. He loves me really!

      Lucky you up at the lake! Weather here’s deteriorated, cold, windy and rain forecast. What happened to summer? What is it with boys and food? Where does it go? He’s long and lean and lanky!

      Yea, hun, as if all we have time for is peeling grapes! 🙂

  13. Love the garden photos, Christine. This summer, my gardens are in a state of change, so they’re looking rather unsightly, but I still oooh and awwwh every time something new blooms.

    I have two grown sons and I love them to bits. They used to hate it when we hugged them or kissed them in front of their friends, but of course, that’s exactly why we did it. When they were teens, they once asked me if I had blonde roots under my brown hair. Don’t all moms?

  14. I think your son and my son would totally get along. 🙂 I love the comment about the technology being wasted on you when you had trouble figuring out how to turn it on. Too funny!

    And beautiful garden. Love the green. We’re finally getting enough rain here in WI to go green again.

  15. This article made me laugh and cry at the same time. The Mooooooooooo thing… Anyway, my son is 3 and he’s already wilful. He will argue a point if he feels like it. Eg – Cole, “Mama, look! A cow!” Me, “That’s not a cow, honey. It’s a camel.” Cole, “No!!” (with wild hand gesture). “It’s a cow!” There you have it.

  16. The cow story made me laugh out loud. Hubby also found it funny. We’re still in the constant frazzled brain phase since we have 3 year old twins. I hope your son will realize eventually that motherly wisdom has it’s uses. My mom has been huge help with the kids and with finally getting better at domestic tasks.

    • Twins! Actually, Reetta, it might be tough in the beginning, but once they get a little bit older you’re going to have a ball! And wait until they start mouthing off! I loved my eldest when she was around five because she was like a little wise old woman. I’ve tons of funny stuff she used to get up to!

  17. I just popped over from Susie’s party and thought I would say hello. You know my mom has always been pretty cool but one time my sisters and I were riding in the car with her when a song came on and apparently she liked it because she asked us to “pipe it up!” We all burst out laughing and she had no idea what was wrong, we had to explain to her what she really meant was “pump it up.”

  18. My dad was the middle of five boys. He grew up with the teasing and banter that boys do when there is no sister to temper it. I was 15 when I finally got the nerve to tell him that, when you have three blonde daughters, dumb blonde jokes are a bad idea. Needless to say, we never got the chance to forget any of our funnier missteps, and often we tell them on ourselves to beat the rest of the family to the punch.
    Hmmm. most embarassing parental moment…Junior high. Dad could talk Valley Girl like nobody’s business, and insisted on doing it anytime my friends were around. They thought he was hilarious. I could have died…..

    • Aww, Charis. He sounds lovely. I’m the one who embarrasses my girls and they’re both blonde. I wouldn’t dare make a blonde joke though, they’d kill me!

      Thank you so much for commenting, it’s lovely to see you!

  19. So pleased to have found you through Susie! This story made me laugh out loud. Although my 15 year old son has never actually said that a particular technology is wasted on me, I am absolutely certain that he’s thinking it all the time!

    • I’m going to call you Deelicious,

      My son’s opinion on my technical deficiencies are brutal and unfortunately very true. But admit my failings, most of the time, lol! Boys are scarily good at all this – apparently they receive the intelligence gene from their mothers. So there you go, darling, we’re brilliant!

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