The Look. You know the one, it’s a mixture of withering, “sigh – you poor delusional fool,” and contempt, “Why, why do I have to be in your presence?” The Look is always followed by an eye roll. It’s a teenage thing, and my fourteen year old has totally perfected it.
Sometimes I laugh when I see it, “enough of The Look, thanks madam.” Other times I simply want to throttle. The lovely thing about having a third daughter is that I know, just like wearing fairy costumes to the supermarket, this too shall pass.
Whilst in Bali, E delivered The Look, in the most perfect, proud mother moment way.
Let me tell you the story.
We’d booked into the Bonika Brunch at the very exclusive and gorgeous St Regis Hotel. It’s held each Sunday, needs to be booked well in advance, and is totally wonderful in three ways.
Firstly, it’s the location. From the moment you drive through the Security Checkpoint into the Resort you are in for a visual feast. The car motors under a huge hanging garden installation which runs the length of the drive. Upon arrival at the entrance the car door is opened by Concierge, dressed in a white tuxedo, “Welcome to the St Regis Madam,” where upon he offers his hand to assist you from the car. Through the foyer you wander past exquisite floral arrangements that rival my height and sit on an enormous antique French table, which itself is under a collection of intricate chandeliers. This place is a Designers ultimate fantasy.
Secondly, it’s the food. A dazzling buffet of delicious morsels, individually plated, beautiful flavours to ponder and dissect and a brunch menu to then choose from that includes duck fois gras and lobster thermidor. Following savoury, is the desserts table, tiny French macrons, cheesecakes, lemon meringue pie just to name a few of the treats on offer. For a food and flavour fan there really are no words.
Lastly it’s the people watching. It never fails to offer an interesting observation. This visit included an aged American. Dressed head to toe in snakeskin, including teal snake skin pants and pointed snakeskin cowboy boots that added a good two inches to his 5ft 4 slender height. Also a large man, both in height and bulk with a strong Zimbabwe accent. It wasn’t so much his hot pink floral shirt that caught my eye, but the way he clicked his fingers at the staff and called, “Boy,” when he wanted his glass refilled. This in turn appeared to startle the very young woman he was with, and her deer in headlights stance made my stomach knot just a little and I’m afraid I pigeon holed him into a very uncomplimentary place.
Towards the end of our meal, Eliza decided to go outside onto the balcony to take some photos of the surrounds. Pigeon hole man was out there. He called her over and asked to have a photograph taken with her. “Why?” she asked, “I’m not famous.”
“Because I want your photo,” he responded. She refused and he retorted with, “Girls don’t normally refuse me.” At this point she hightailed back to me to recount the story.
“Ugg, what did you say to that?” I asked. Nothing she shrugged, “I just gave him The Look.”
“OMG,” I asked her excitedly, “with the full on eye roll thing?” “Yep, the biggest eye roll!”
We high fived, and I sent out a wish to the Universe that he felt the full force of her contempt and pity.
My woman/child then edged her way closer to me and hugged me, and in that moment I was Mummy again, and she was 5, and my chest hurt. I want to keep her safe and sheltered and protected from the shitty things in the world, I want her to stay oblivious to her beauty and remain puzzled as to why a “fat man with a strange accent in a bad shirt would want her photo.” I didn’t want to let go.
A conversation was then had. A quiet earnest conversation about staying safe, that dodgy people do exist, they are not the figment of concerned mother’s overactive imaginations. A rare conversation that instead of ending in me sighing and with her giving me The Look, felt real, honest and heard. A conservation that can only be held in the moment, and is no doubt one of many to come as the teen years stretch before the both of us.