My youngest son - now 12-years-old - gave me hell this weekend in the way only he and his oldest brother know how. Sheer bloody-minded unreasonableness mixed with a good dose of contempt and belligerence, and seasoned with a liberal smattering of swear words. I declined into that feeling of absolute maternal desperation - the one where you don't know whether to murder your offspring or yourself. Luckily, I had a trip to London scheduled, and escaped on Sunday morning with two days to calm down.
Said son phoned my mobile while I was recuperating in my favourite Japanese restaurant. After enquiring whether I wanted him to go up and see the dog, he then apologised for hie earlier behaviour (that is where he and his elder brother differ - the latter has NEVER apologised for his verbal atrocities). Then he said, and I quote: "Can you ever find it in your heart to forgive me?"
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at this quaint turn of phrase - what has he been reading recently? - but it had the desired effect. I forgave him instantly.