Okay, so I began this morning by taking photos of Seminarian Pretend Son in front of the Historical House. It was very sunny, so the Historical House looked more Italianate than ever! Then I wrote a very long email to Polish Pretend Son, which I finished just as Polish Temporary Pretend Daughter came into the sitting-room to hear me read Polish. And then I had to run like the wind to catch a bus to an appointment.
I had a nice chat with Seminarian Pretend Son today about the advantages of Pretend Children. First of all, you are not stuck with each other. Both parties have a choice. Pretend Children come from the ranks of young people who think older people are cool, not by definition creepy, weird and boring. And Pretend Mothers have to be cool, not creepy, weird or boring, and in tune with this whole "Pretend" fact.
Second, university-age Pretend Children are already grown up, and what you are pretend mothering is the finished, expensive product. I acknowledge that it is very unfair that Pretend Mothers get the advantage of all the Real Mothers' hard work by having the Real Mothers' creations adorn their sitting-rooms and dinner parties, but life is not fair, and would the Real Mothers have willingly missed the first two decades? No.
Third, Pretend Children have good manners and don't hurt the furniture. They may leave their toys on it, of course. But in the Historical House the Pretend Children play with coffee carafes, pipe cleaning tools, smart hats, wool scarves, badger hair shaving brushes, elegant scents, including rose-flavoured shampoo B.A. is tempted to eat, The Chap magazine and exotic liqueurs. (My Polish Temporary Pretend Daughter does not leave anything around anywhere, and from what I can see from the hall her room is as tidy as the day she moved in.)
Fourth, Pretend Children are capable of deeply interesting conversation and often have intriguing hobbies. Seminarian Pretend Son made a very clever (if slightly wicked) joke this morning and if I remembered it, I would tell you. (What was it?) Also, he gave me very good advice regarding a tweed jacket because if you have a question about tweed, SPS is your man.
Fifth, in part because this is all ruled by choice and no-one can take anyone for granted (as in Real Maternal-Filial Relationships), Pretend Children are less likely to be rude and more likely to say "thank you" for things. They beg to wash the dishes, or they bring you vodka from Poland and truffle-infused cheese from Rome. They also tend to do their own laundry, and all the Pretend Mother has to do is show them how to work the washing machine.
Sixth, they are really easy to take care of. You just give them clean sheets and stuff to eat and liquids to drink and plenty of time in the bathroom doing whatever it is to their hair , and they are perfectly happy. Of course sometimes they text at 1 AM asking you to let them in, but you don't mind because whatever they were doing, it was probably interesting and they might even tell you what it was because you are not their Real Mother, who might not survive the shock. (You can have many Pretend Mothers, but only one Pretend Mother after all.)
Sunday, by the way, is Mothering Sunday (or Mother's Day) in the UK, and I wonder if I will get a Pretend Card. (What would a Pretend Card look like? My guess: invisible.) This however does not concern me as much as if I will ever have any Pretend Grandchildren. Oh well, even if I do not, I do have a Real Niece and two Real Nephews, so they may provide them.