I don't think there's a person in the world who hasn't suffered low self-esteem. Even if your last name's Kardashian, I'd bet my limited edition Buffy box set you've encountered that little ol' devil somewhere along the line. Fortunately, life usually finds a way to cushion your fall just as you make the proverbial twelve story leap. My air mattress came in the form of my thirteen year old son, G. I had just received an email from a friend of mine who was honeymooning in America and, while I was (and am) absolutely stoked for her, I'm ashamed to confess that the attached photos of the blissed-out couple posing in front of every damn Hollywood landmark Google Maps ever listed did bring me down somewhat. We were both in our thirties, (I'm three years older, but there's no point dwelling on that), we both had children, and you could fill two equally huge volumes with stories of the mistakes we've both made, so why had it worked out so well for her and not for me? Yes, I was coming down with a serious case of the 'Why-not-Me's.'
One of the reasons I would make a terrible criminal is that I am so easy to read, which is why G was able to see straight through my 'I'm fine' routine within ten seconds of entering the room and sitting down next to me on the couch. He glanced furtively at the pictures on my laptop, then put his arm around my shoulder and kissed me on the cheek.
'You're beautiful, Mum.'
I hugged him, grateful that I forgot to take that little white pill all those years ago, and regretting the verbal barrage I'd unleashed upon him earlier for failing to clean the crack den he called a room. My son is the single most brutally honest person you are ever likely to meet. He will give you his unbiased, uncensored opinion, like it or not, so I took the compliment as more than just obligatory pity. I kissed his cheek and sent him off to bed, proud of my free range child raising philosophy.
'It's your age that's the problem!'
If anyone has a windowless barn available for rent, let me know.