"I'm not cross; I'm just disappointed."

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There is nothing worse than your parents hissing that infamous line at you. If nothing else, it makes me feel pure guilt no matter how small the crime. In fact, it even rivals the words “I am your father!” as a great parent one-liner. Although, to be perfectly honest, Darth Vader has never struck me as the paternal type. He never celebrated Luke’s birthday, was always absent as Christmas and had basically buggered off before anyone suggested that he should change a nappy. I’m sure he gave some reason ... oh yeah, he had “gone to the dark side” or something. Great excuse.

Thankfully, not many of us have Darth Vader as a father; I can positively say I don’t and I believe my mum screaming that one line at me proves it.

When I was about 10 years old, my mum and I went on the weekly supermarket ramble. There were the usual questions in the car: “How was school?”, “Did you eat your salad at lunch?”, “Is Natalie still being horrible?” Yet, my mind fails me why, but my mum was in a light-hearted mood and let me push the rickety shopping cart. BIG mistake. I have no shame in admitting that coordination is not one of my talents so letting me push the cart was not the brightest of ideas. Anyway, long story short, whilst “drifting” the cart round the frozen meats isle, (very skilfully I might add) I rammed my poor, unsuspecting mother in the back. Ooops.
By the time my mum was upright and hopping frantically in circles, I had promptly flown headlong in to the fish counter, scattering the contents of the cart in to every crevice of the supermarket.

I closed my eyes waiting for the onslaught. It was like the calm before the storm; the eye of the hurricane. All was peaceful and quiet. As my 10 year old self, I was sure time had stopped; it couldn’t be this quiet amongst the chaos I had just caused?

However, the massive telling off I imagined would come, didn’t. All my mum did was take me calmly by the hand and murmur “I’m not cross; I’m just disappointed”. At that moment I hung my head in shame, my face glowing in to a ripe tomato.

Although, despite the embarrassment and guilt then, I now realise that line is programmed in to all parents; without it would be like Han Solo missing his faithful Tubaka. It seems to give them the strength to stay patient and tolerant, no matter what we do. To be honest, in that situation of complete public humiliation, if I was my mum, I would have withdrawn my light sabre and chopped my kids arm off. Then again, not all parents are Darth Vader.





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