Mama needs valium

As a self confessed catastrophic thinker with years of practice at worst case scenario planning, I have suddenly found myself in a tricky situation.  I pride myself in my innovative attempts to control everybody in my family. Over the years, every crisis has been averted by the pure strength of my pre planning. Missed exams averted, stolen bank cards cancelled, transport booked, lost keys found, couriers phoned, trips made to deliver essential items like maths books, and even beer and money for rugby, which in the Makin household could be thought to constitute an emergency. A mother chicken with all her chicks safely under the wing.

But now the chicks are distant blips on the world map, free to make their own way in the world and, heaven forbid, get themselves from points A to B without my concientious planning.  And its the chicks in transit that I find hardest to endure.  While South African roads probably constituted a much greater threat than Asian or Israeli airports, at least it was in my power to drive through the night and rescue the bedraggled fledgling. Chicks in transit, you may wonder. What could possibly go wrong?  The two most likely case scenarios in the Catastrophist mind are ……..

Missed flight which would followed by loneliness, a failed Christmas, depression and eating baked beans out of a can for Christmas dinner. Missed flight could be caused by failure to take a pasport, failure to check the date and time of the flight, missed connection caused by snow, desert storms and terrorist attacks and/or failure to book a bus. At this stage mom’s of teenagers, just out of school, who might fall asleep in an airport after imbibing too much cheap whisky, are shaking their heads with understanding. Regretfully, I don’t have that excuse. My chicks are all grown up, gainfully employed, well degreed {one indeed has four of those all important qualifications}, and are quite capable of reading an itnerary and packing a passport without my intervention. Nonetheless a whatsapp message every hour usually convinces me that they would not have got too far since the last message and would have time to return for the passport. A Greek chorus of “do you have your passport?” is usually followed by “did you book your travel insurance?”

Young lady, I dont care if you are 11 000 kilometers away, do not set foot out of your flat without your travel insurance.

Then the drug bust. This happens when you neglect to keep your case firmly attached to your person, even in the toilet stall. Marauding criminals, intent on ruffling my feathers, and getting their evil stash out of the country are targetting my chickens. The situation becomes quite poignant at this point as I take a bank loan, head across to Asia and camp in the snow outside that scary Asian prison, waiting for the South African embassy to open again after the Christmas holidays. I look longingly at the blank barred windows,  visualising the cruel eyes of the guards,  willing my poor child to see me waiting in the snow to show my solidarity. This scenario plays out very well in the middle of the night.

Of course hijackings, plunging into the ocean and running away to marry a stranger instead of coming home, as planned, all have potential for the catastrophic thinker. Fortunately I seem to just be able to cope with one imagined crisis at a time. So there is hope, that the wandering chickens might read this and pack Mama some valium for Christmas.

And take out travel insurance.