Downstairs, Jack had heard his mum’s shouts, and scampered to the foot of the stairs to find out what the commotion was all about. He knew mum never shouted, so Lucy must have done something really bad.
Lucy too had heard, and cringed as she did. She knew she was for it, and she couldn’t remember a time when her Mum had sounded more angry than she did right now. But she was still angry too, so instead of going out to see her on the landing, Lucy just bellowed back.
“LEAVE ME ALONE! I don’t want to talk to YOU!”
At the foot of the stairs, Jack gasped in shock and horror. He couldn’t believe Lucy had dared to speak to their mum like that, and he was dreading what was going to happen next.
Lesley too was in shock, neither of her kids had ever spoken to her like that. It took her a few moments to compose herself so that she didn’t fly off the handle and do something she would probably regret later, but eventually she walked calmly into Lucy’s bedroom, picking up the mattress protector as she passed, and closed the door to behind her.
Approaching the bed where Lucy lay, she very calmly but firmly placed the plastic sheet down next to her daughter.
“Lucy, I will not allow you to speak to me like that, do you understand? Whether you like it or not, I am our mother and deserve to be treated with respect. For all you are growing up, you are a child and whilst you are living in my house you will follow my rules.”
This was delivered in a low, slow whisper, leaving absolutely no doubt whatsoever that she meant every word. She didn’t need to raise her voice, it was clear that she was furious.
“Now, I suggest you get up, remove your bedding and put this protector back where you found it. Then, when you’ve remade your bed, perhaps we can have a sensible talk about why you are behaving in this way?”
Lucy began to tremble, she’d never known her Mum to be so angry, and it frightened her. She’d almost rather have her shouting at her than this, at least she knew where she stood with that. As she turned to face Lesley, her resolve crumbled and pent up tears of frustration fell.
“Oh Mum, I’m so so sorry. I didn’t mean to, I didn’t…”
And with that, she threw her arms around her Mum and sobbed into her shoulder, all of the anger, upset, humiliation and worry she’d felt over the past couple of days pouring out of her.
Lesley’s heart melted, how could she be angry with her young daughter when she was clearly so upset and going through so much turmoil? It must be bad enough to be 11, nearly a teenager, without everything that had happened the past couple of days on top. The poor love, now she felt bad about shouting and making her so upset. She knew she’d had every right to be annoyed, but now she just felt like she’d made everything worse.
“Why has all this happened mummy? I’m not a baby, why did I have to wet myself? Now everybody makes fun of me. And then I wet the bed too, an even Jack thinks I’m a baby.” All of this was choked out between sobs which showed no signs of abating.
“Sssshhh B…” Lesley had to stop herself, her natural reaction to say baby just didn’t seem appropriate. “Come on sweetheart, try to calm down, you’re going to make yourself sick if you carry on crying like that.
“M..mm..um, why did you send that bag of clothes into school with me? Do you not trust me not to have another accident? Even Jack doesn’t have to have a change of clothes. And then when I came home and you’d put Jack’s bedwetting sheet on my bed, I couldn’t believe it. It’s never happened before Mum, it was just an accident, I promise. I don’t need to be treated like a baby, I’m a big girl, I’m going to high school soon!”
“Oh love, dry your eyes and let’s sit and have a proper talk, shall we?” Lesley grabbed the box of tissues from Lucy’s bedside table and passed them over to her.
“Look ,sweetie, I didn’t want to embarrass you, but I know it’s not happened just that once. Well, in bed maybe. But, and please don’t get upset again, I know you’ve had a few more accidents. Sometimes when I’ve come into your room to collect your laundry I’ve found some clothes under your bed which were wet. Please don’t worry about it lovely, accidents happen and I understand that, which is why I hadn’t said anything to you. I’d be lying if I said it had never happened to me. But with it happening in school too, I thought it was best that you had some clothes there ‘just in case’, as I know you were ashamed of having to wear that dress yesterday.”
Lucy felt her whole world collapse around her. Her mum KNEW! Oh, if she thought she’d felt mortified before, that was nothing to this. She just sat in abject shock, wide eyed and unable to look at her Mum. She couldn’t believe this, it just couldn’t be real. How could she talk her way out of this, how could she explain this away?
“Now then Lucy, do you want to talk to me about what’s been happening? If you’re not ready yet, that’s fine, I can go and sort dinner and we can have a chat again later. But it may help to talk to me, and I may be able to help you if you do.
Lucy still couldn’t take all of this in, and the very last thing she wanted to do was to talk about any of it. What 11 year old girl would want to talk to her mum about wetting herself like a little baby? Even if it was her own fault, she knew that, she didn’t have a ‘problem’ that made her wet herself, she just seemed to end up doing it because she hadn’t gone to the toilet when she’d had the chance at school. But there was no way she could ever talk to her mum about that. She’d die of embarrassment, even more than she already was doing now.
Slowly she just shook her head and then turned back away from her Mum, lying back down facing the bedroom wall, hoping this made it clear she didn’t want to talk.
Lesley realised that she needed to give her daughter some space, so she gave her a gentle kiss on the top of the head before making her way slowly out of the room. “I’ll be downstairs if you want me, love, come and find me when you’re ready to talk. Try not to worry, it will all be ok, I promise.”3
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