“Phew, we’ve actually got milk!”
were the exact words coming from long gangly legs protruding from the fridge. The very long gangly legs which, 10 years ago, would settle for the night with a cup of warm milk. Now they belong to a teenager who no longer needed a tonic to sleep and had swapped the comfort of milk for the benefits it have to a post rugby cool down, ice-cold from the fridge.
How odd it is that one drink can stir so many memories.
It’s the only food you’ll know for the first 6 months of life, then as you pass through each milestone, it grabs at one memory after another; school breaks and the milk monitor handing out the cartons (or bottles till Maggie took it away)
To the teenage years and mum yelling “ Don’t drink it out the carton! It’ll be full of your germs!” I learnt the trick of keeping my head shielded by the fridge door for future milk gulping moments and when a glass just wouldn’t do. Who was I to care if my siblings consumed my backwash? It was payback and anyway, she was always telling me to share.
And then there were the late teen / early twenties hangovers, where nothing other than a glass full of pure, nutritious, palate cleansing milk could cull the evidence of the previous night’s misgivings. Cider by night, milk by day was on the drinks menu of many a weekend.
As the years gave way to earlier nights and quieter weekends, milk became my medicine as I struggled with pregnancy nausea. Nothing, I repeat nothing, could ward off the horrible, yucky feeling that struck me from morning to night. Sneaking off to the kitchen while at work to glug the good stuff, hoping my colleagues didn’t guess my happy secret as I swapped my caffeine for milk.
It helped make 3 perfect babies, I’m sure, as I flooded my body with the vitamins it so desired, and my morning sickness shunned so many other foods I shouldn’t have been eating to stay fit and healthy.
There were the days when nursing newborns and my appetite went through the roof. Sitting for, what seemed like hours, with a baby who would only settle in my arms. Unable to make snacks as often as I’d like, a glass of milk kept me going until someone arrived to take my velcro baby for 10 minutes.
And then there’s the here and now. The circle of life, where I’m the mum yelling instructions not to drink from the carton as my Teenager, shouts cries of delight, seeing I bought his favourite milk, in-between glugs. Does he really not think I know what he’s doing, forgetting I too was once an 12 year old doing what I knew I shouldn’t be, but doing it none the less.
But I guess, what does he care if his brothers get his back wash.
He considers it payback.
And anyway, I’m always telling him to share.