There comes a time in a mother’s life when her child takes a long, cool look at her and realises that, sometimes, Mum is not the person she thought she was.
So it seemed for Emma Thompson and 14-year-old daughter Gaia, who accompanied her to the Golden Globes, saying: “It’s my first everything. My first awards show in Hollywood. The first time I’ve dressed up like this.”
And what a splendid and eye-opening introduction to the grown-up, glamorous world of award ceremonies this must have been for Gaia. Last weekend’s Golden Globes was a classic, by all accounts, characterised by British women behaving, if not badly, then idiosyncratically, at least.
Jacqueline Bisset’s acceptance speech (she won best supporting actress for the BBC’s Dancing on The Edge) went viral on the internet. She told all the people who had given her poo (she used a naughty word) to “Go to hell and don’t come back.” Good. If you can’t tell your life-suckers where to go at a Hollywood awards ceremony when you’re 69, when can you?
Star turn, however, was Emma T, who likes to give value at red carpet events. She pretended to be drunk, taking to the stage to present an award with a martini glass in one hand and her Louboutin heels in the other, showing the audience the signature red soles and declaring, “I just want you to know, this red, it’s my blood.” The audience roared with laughter, although I’d love to know what Monsieur Louboutin made of it as she tossed the shoes behind her to open the envelope.
Most 14-year-olds are mortified by their parents’ behaviour in public, but Gaia seemed to take it all in her stride. There’s a lovely photo of her holding her mother’s arm, standing slightly behind her and looking directly into the lens with a knowing half-smile that contrasts with Emma’s beamy-wide grin. She looks very grown-up, as if she realises that, as fun and fascinating as a Hollywood awards ceremony undoubtedly must be, it is, in fact, work. Mum had a job to do that night – being Emma Thompson.
An important aspect of being a parent is introducing your child to the adult world, perhaps taking them to work or to an event as your plus-one. It’s scary – you worry how they will be judged by others but also how your child will judge you, as someone other than their mother or father.
Children need to know that their parent’s most important job is as Mum or Dad, but that they have other roles too, in the wider world. The next day, Emma and Gaia went to Disneyland, a place where you can forget all about work and putting on a show, and just enjoy being two grown-up kids together.