Rumours abound that George Clooney is engaged. I am pleased for him as I am rather fond of George for personal reasons. You see, he has no idea but for years he helped me be a better parent.
It all started years ago, a few months after I separated, when my 13 year old son announced over dinner that “it is ok for Dad to have girlfriends but you can’t have any boyfriends”. Teenage angst together with a dose of ADD was not something I relished so I knew I needed to find myself a man. A real man but distant enough so as not be an actual threat. So George came into our lives. For the next two years George was mentioned in our house several times a week. Whereas before my son had never noticed the smallest thing about me now he would grill me: “Why are you putting on makeup? You are only going to the supermarket” or “Why are you all dressed up? You are only taking us to school”…and so, situations that would have inevitably ended in a shouting match or tears, ended in laughter instead. I would reply “But hey, if George is at the supermarket aisle wanting to know which brand of toothpaste is better or if George is filling up the petrol tank at the same time, I need to look my best!” And we’d all burst out laughing.
And the thing about George is that he was always there for me. My first Christmas as a single mum, I worried that there might be a difficult moment at some point during the day, and wouldn’t you know, a small gift appeared under the tree that said “To Silvia, Merry Christmas from GC”. “Mum, who is GC” “I don’t know” “But it is your handwriting” “I don’t know what you are talking about”. When the penny dropped, there was a lot of laughter as was on Christmas day, my kids remarking how clever George was to know my taste. He was also there for me when it was time to give a gentle nudge that I may be a mum but not a nun “But Mum, really, do you think if you saw George, he’d talk to you?” “Who says I want to talk to him?” Silence followed by “Muuuum”. He was also there when it was time to have that awkward mother son conversation about sex and protection. I could always rely on George.
When my son was older he said that he had wanted to protect me and didn’t want anyone to hurt me. How easy it would have been to misunderstand his intentions. In any event, for us George, for we soon were on first name basis, remained a part of our lives. My son would say “Mum very sorry, bad news, George has a new girlfriend”. We’d all laugh, a reminder of a different time.
Both my children are young adults now, my son finished university and my daughter just started and I am happy they seem well adjusted people with a sense of right and wrong. Yet, I worry. I am a Mum, it is my job to worry. I worry that a girl’s twerking got more press than another’s nomination to the Nobel Peace Prize. I worry that so many female singers seem to be only able to perform while practically naked. I recently read an article about teenagers’ attitudes to sex in an average British school which haunted me for days. Open any magazine and it is easy to see these are different times. A time of reality tv, cleavage, five seconds of fame, big hair, vertiginous heels or a six pack. As a Mum I worry about the impact this can have on my kids. I want to shout that appearance is not the most important.
And there is George, breathtakingly beautiful women at his side for years, stating that he would never marry again. And yet, if the rumours are true, George just got engaged. Not to a woman whose attributes are her perfect features or killer body but rather that she went to Oxford and is a human rights lawyer. So George, as a Mum, I want to ask you to be there for me once again. Pretty please, be engaged and marry this woman.