How do I know the world has changed? My daughter is suddenly worried about me

Adrian Chiles
·1-min read

There comes a time in every parent-child relationship when the balance between carer and cared-for starts to shift. The other night I drove my 17-year-old daughter the short distance home. We had spent the evening sitting together at mine watching the news about the PM going into intensive care. I think she must have taken one look at Boris Johnson and spotted, just as I had, that he is only slightly older, and heavier, than her father. As she got out of the car she said, “Text me when you get back.”

“Eh? Yes, OK. Er, why?”

“So I know you’re back, obviously,” she said rolling her eyes. But we both knew the request was unprecedented.

Her logic was flawed in that if I was to be struck down by the virus, it was unlikely to happen on the drive home. But the thought was there. The tables had, for me anyway, unmistakably started to turn.

It’s a long process, though, which I don’t think is ever fully completed. She is 35 years younger than me; my parents are 30 years older than me. I am naturally very worried about them but, even now, absurdly, I suspect no more concerned than they will be about me.

When I got back to my place it felt odd texting my little girl that, yes I was safely home. I was moved, even upset, by her concern for me. And I felt older suddenly – I had certainly aged more than 10 minutes in the 10 minutes since she had got out of the car. She can’t have been that worried, however. She never bothered replying. Typical. Kids, eh?

Adrian Chiles is writer, broadcaster and Guardian columnist