Why mums fear the moment they have to let their quaranteens go

From red carpet to real life…SUSANNA REID: Why mums fear the moment they have to let their quaranteens go

  • Harry Dunn, 19, was killed by a car being driven on the wrong side of the road
  • Susanna Reid is heart-broken every time she speaks to Harry’s mother Charlotte 
  • British presenter reflected on time spent with her own sons during lockdown

My problems with three teenage boys in lockdown are, I suspect, pretty common.

I nag them about getting out of bed, harangue them about washing their hands when they come through the door and then bug them to do the dishes.

Nag, harangue, bug is on daily repeat. I’m sure it must be the same soundtrack in every home across the country that harbours quaranteenagers.

Mine are 14, 16 and 18, and going into lockdown, we had so many good intentions. I even bought a piano keyboard so that we could all become more musical. Of course, now it’s sitting like a white elephant in the living room. The PlayStation, on the other hand, is almost worn out.

Susanna Reid reflected on having the opportunity to spend time with her children during lokdown. Pictured: Susanna’s sons in 2013

So it was a jolt to the heart, this week, to speak again to the mother of a teenager — not much older than my eldest — who mourns the loss of all those irritating moments. She is someone who would love to nag her son to get off the PlayStation.

I’m talking about Charlotte Charles, the mother of 19-year-old Harry Dunn who was killed when a car driven on the wrong side of the road by former U.S. intelligence agent Anne Sacoolas, smashed into his motorbike.

Charlotte has been effectively isolating with Harry’s twin brother Niall and her partner Bruce since well before we went into lockdown. Grief made it hard for them to leave the house, except when campaigning for justice.

The last time I saw Charlotte in person was in our Good Morning Britain studio a few months ago, alongside Harry’s father Tim. While no longer a couple, they have battled together for their son, literally shoulder to shoulder.

This week Charlotte joined us again, by video link from home, to talk about a glimmer of hope: Interpol have issued a Red Notice for Anne Sacoolas, meaning she can be arrested if she leaves the U.S., which brings the family a step closer to seeing a trial. I feel pleased for Charlotte that her refusal to give up is having an impact.

Susanna claims Charlotte Charles (pictured) who is the mother of Harry Dunn, is a powerful reminder that time spent with our family is precious 

I don’t doubt this is hard for Anne Sacoolas, too. As a mother of three herself, she must feel regret for her terrible mistake every moment. Every morning, the minute she wakes up, she must think about facing justice, explaining what happened, speaking in court and releasing Charlotte and Tim from the agony of imagining what Harry went through.

Ultimately, I can’t understand why she wouldn’t want to set a good example for her own young children and do the right thing, however hard.

There is something about talking to Charlotte that makes me broken-hearted for her every time we speak. Articulate, dignified, but full of love and sadness for her lost boy, she is a powerful reminder that time spent with our family is precious.

Off-air gossip 

I’d like to teach Health Secretary Matt Hancock the art of live TV. My top tip is never to be filmed off-guard like he was on BBC Breakfast this week, rolling his eyes. And on GMB a few months ago, he was caught scoffing a waffle. Politicians need to remember they are never alone when the cameras roll.

There’s no greater challenge, for most parents, than letting a growing teen go out into the world, knowing he is exposed to risk, but that it is also your duty to let him go.

During lockdown, I send my boys out for their daily exercise on their bikes, knowing that the streets of London have been, until this week, pretty quiet and relatively safe.

I’ve always dreaded the day that one of them wants a motorbike, even before Harry’s sad story. I have only been on one once as a pillion passenger, with a perfectly safe rider, but I found the experience alarming and never to be repeated.

Harry Dunn, too, was a dedicated, safe motorbike rider, and was doing everything right.

Susanna (pictured) said her boys can’t wait to take advantage of their freedom and to spend time with their friends, once lockdown ends 

For all the difficulties of the past two months, I am sure that many parents have relished the extra time spent with their children, even if they are on that darn PlayStation more than you’d like. Despite the horrible threat of the virus hanging over us all, some of a parent’s normal worries have been suspended.

There will never be another period like this, when we have such time together. I know that once lockdown ends, my boys can’t wait to take advantage of their freedom and spend as much time as possible with their friends out in the parks and streets.

We all fear the agony of the call that Charlotte and Tim received that day, but as parents we will once more have to live with those everyday dangers that we haven’t missed at all.

Who needs Ibiza when we’ve got the Isle of Wight

Susanna revealed her annual trip to Ibiza is likely to be replaced with a visit to the Isle of Wight to avoid weeks in quarantine. Pictured: Susanna as a child 

My annual trip to Ibiza looks like being replaced by a jaunt to the Isle of Wight to avoid spending hours on an unhealthy plane, and then weeks in quarantine. But I’m not complaining.

When I was little I adored the windy beaches of Ventor and the dinosaur cliffs at Alum Bay. I was thrilled to take the cable car, and I coveted the layers of coloured sand in tiny jars in the gift shop.

Simple pleasures, compared to a week of late nights in Ibiza. But then, this pandemic has taught me to appreciate the small things in life.

Would you want your partner locked down with a Strictly pro?

Susanna said making the couples on Strictly live together might be the thing that banishes the ‘curse of Strictly’. Pictured: Seann Walsh and Katya Jones 

Love Island may be cancelled, but this year Strictly might fill the gap. Bosses are considering putting the pros and their celebrity partners into quarantine together for the duration to enable the show to go ahead, surely a plan that will give rise to plenty of gossip.

I’m all for aiming for a new normal, but this will result in the show getting a different set of celebrities. No parent of young children will want to spend that much time away from home. And husbands and wives will baulk at being apart for so long.

But making the couples live together sharing chores might be the thing that finally banishes the ‘curse of Strictly’. The passionate intimacy of training together has led to a huge number of flirtations on the show like that of Seann Walsh and Katya Jones, pictured. Doing the rumba together is one thing, but sharing a bathroom can take the romance out of any blossoming relationship.

I’m a Disney devotee

Susanna revealed she’s been watching Disney’s old animated Robin Hood (pictured), instead of joining the conversation about Normal People 

I know everyone is raving about Normal People, but I’m too busy following the news to focus on all that angst-ridden drama.

Instead, I have caught up with Disney’s old animated Robin Hood, pictured with Maid Marian, a cheery film we watched over and over when the children were small. It doesn’t surprise me that researchers in Vienna found a dose of Disney is a tonic for cancer patients. Sometimes you just need a happy ending.

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