The Perfect Daughter

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So it’s now official. There is such a thing as a perfect daughter. According to a survey reported in the Mail a few days ago there are thirty things which characterise a mother’s perfect child.

She sounds a bit of a loser, to be honest. The perfect daughter sends text updates to her mother every day, offers her frequent lifts, watches the same soaps, takes her out for lunch once a week and has another day in the week when she always visits, such as Sunday.

I’m trying to envisage this. I mean, I have the perfect daughter, right? I’ve known that for decades. (Not many decades because, being the perfect human being, Serena is in a perpetual state of being 21. I don’t even stop at having one perfect daughter… but Serena’s sisters are not the subject of this blog.)

Nevertheless, we live in Bedford. Serena and Christian in Kennington.

Serena has a busy job as Educational Consultant for the new and exciting London tutors site, Tutorfair. So incredibly busy, in fact, that she never seems to take a lunch hour or even brief coffee break, nor finish work before about seven.

She then frequently does another job in the evenings and weekends, working as a Tutor herself. Good for her day job, because she keeps in touch with the challenges her colleagues are managing. Essential for the finances, if she and Christian are ever to buy a home.

They also Have a Life. They go to Bible Study on Thursday evenings and Church on Sundays, and quite often out to parties, receptions, the theatre or dinner with friends on the other nights. They live in London for goodness’ sake.

She also has a garden she is putting work into, and another new project which, I’ve just realised, deserves a posting all of its own.

Not surprisingly, if Serena and I need a few minutes to talk about something absolutely crucial it can be days before we can find a window in her schedule; and then we frequently get interrupted and have to have several goes. (My schedule, by contrast, is all window: being a writer I do nothing all day except stare out of the window sharpening pencils. As I’m not very good at multi-tasking, I don’t sharpen the pencils very well.)

If Serena started sending me daily text updates and offering me lifts around the place – not to mention finding time to watch soaps of an evening – I would think she’d gone stark raving bonkers.

This aside, however, Serena does match up pretty well to the description of the perfect daughter. Let’s consider some of the traits:

  1. “Is honest on shopping trips.” Yup, I think I could give a big tick to that one. After she told me what I could and couldn’t wear to her wedding. (And, darn her, was right – as she always is.)
  2. “Gets on with mum’s friends.” My friends all adore Serena. Of course they do. Everyone does. If they were daft enough not to like my daughter they wouldn’t be my friends. But hang on, they aren’t my friends anyway. They are our friends. I can’t think of any friends I have, off-hand, that aren’t also hers. 
  3. “Lends mum clothes and accessories,” point 29, and “lets her use her makeup,” point 30. Well, I’m sure I’ve got some of Serena’s cast-offs and she has certainly borrowed my makeup. Does that count?

Oh look, I’m getting bored of this. Serena is the perfect daughter so there’s an end of it. She and Christian comes here for weekends whenever they can, which is glorious and always puts me in the happiest mood ever. If I have to go to London (and remember to tell her) she always urges me to see her and usually buys me lunch, which is also always fun.

She had the wonderful sense and good taste to marry a man who, the moment he walks into our house, takes over the cooking and copes with feeding any number of people. I’m sure providing the perfect son in law must be one of the characteristics of being a perfect daughter.

“Crucially,” the article says, “the perfect offspring will let her mum take over wedding preparations when the big day comes around, according to the poll.”

She certainly did that. And quite right too. Like me in the run up to my wedding, Serena was far too busy to organise her own wedding…

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