Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Life lessons July 27, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 6:50 pm
Tags: , , ,


In the last few weeks several tragedies have exposed the men-children to the loss of life.  In two separate events, both boys had friends that were plunged into the depths of grief, under terrible and unexpected circumstances.  You never want your children to experience grief before they need to, but sadly it’s part of the circle of life and inevitable at some stage.

Apart from sharing in the boys shock and sadness as a result of both tragic deaths, we also ensured that they had any support they needed and knew how to reach out to their friends.  Both were in contact with their friends by text and phone (their preferred mode of communication), to offer their support.  One of the boys also spent time with his friend – leaving school for the day with my permission.  I agreed immediately, as peer support is so important under these circumstances.

In the days since, we have talked about the events that unfolded and ensured that if there are lessons to learn that the boys indeed do – using these horrid events to drive home messages about depression (it’s important to seek help from people), and drink-driving (just don’t do it).

What they have now been exposed to directly is the impact such events have on children, parents, spouses, families and friends, the terrible deaths having a far-reaching effect across so many people.  I hope they have learned to be even more thankful for what they have, and to think about the decisions they make in life every day.  I know it has caused them to reflect on the fragility of life and to understand it can happen to someone you know.

As we get older, is it just me that feels grief more intensely?  Is it as adults that we understand the terrible loss and sadness more deeply, or is it through our own experience that it all comes flooding back?   Upon learning about the death of this young man in a car accident, I was instantly transported back 28 years ago to the life changing events of my own sister’s death in a car accident.  I knew at once the grief my son’s friends would feel at the loss of their sibling, and the support they would draw from their closest friends.   And as a parent, I understood even more inherently how my own parents must have felt at the loss of their child, and the feelings of disbelief, intense and heart-breaking grief, and the completely surreal nature as the world around you continued on, even as your own life seemed to stop temporarily.

So what did I tell my children?  That I had been down the path of their friends before, losing both a sibling and a parent.  That I knew how they would be feeling, and that they should just be there for their friends.  Be available to talk, or to text, or to do nothing but be a friend.

I hope my children don’t experience too many of these life lessons in their early years – there is plenty of time as we get older, and inevitably mourn the loss of our parents and friends.  But along the way, we deal with what life throws at us, and ensure our kids have the support and guidance they need to overcome life’s hurdles and challenges, and to be empathetic, supportive, caring human beings.


Happy Family Holidays July 19, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Port DouglasExcuse the absence from my blog, but a family holiday in lovely Far North Queensland was in order.  Now as some of you will know, it was with great reluctance that one of our men-children attended the holiday with us.  He would have much preferred to have stayed home alone (never!) and gone out every night of the holidays with his mates, completely running himself into the ground, and doing all the wrong things before returning to studies.  I was almost expecting that he would be conveniently absent on the day we left for the airport, thereby missing the flight and the holiday, but thankfully not.

We were motivated to have a family holiday for a few reasons – one to escape the cold Melbourne winter.  The other to enjoy a family holiday with just our kids and us whilst we still can (at 17 I think the appeal will diminish in coming years), and to ensure that the boys had a decent break and rest.

So was it successful?  I am delighted to say it was.  And how do I measure the success?  As we left Port Douglas and drove towards the airport, I asked a few simple questions:

  1. So did you like Port Douglas? A resounding yes by all 3 kids.
  2. Would you come back to Port Douglas?  Another yes by all 3 kids.
  3. Would you come back to the house, or rather stay closer to the main street?  Loved the house, and the location.

Yay, music to our ears.  A couple of things worked in our favour.  Staying in a great Bali style house, with our own pool and plenty of room for the boys (love the QLD lifestyle).  Walking distance to the beach, bike paths nearby for a quick ride into town, some school mates staying close by whom they spent countless hours playing 500 with, and a night life (significantly safer than Bali) where they met even more Melbourne friends for regular nights out.

There were a few other indicators of success for me (call them soft measures) –  the boys rarely fought with each other (an all too common occurrence at home), or their sister for that matter.  In fact, they got along quite well, talking to each other (instead of taunting each other), a habit which happily seems to have been maintained at home.   Whilst they remain very different in their interests and friendship groups, it seems they have found some common ground finally.

We had some nice dinners out as a family and did some sight-seeing together – all just pleasant things to do.  We even captured some happy snaps.  For Mother of a Man-child these simple things give me so much joy, perhaps because I know it won’t last forever.  That said, I was pleased to catch up with friends from Melbourne who had all four kids with them on holidays – the oldest 21.  So perhaps there’s still a few years of fun remaining?

So here’s to the next family holiday with the kids over summer, and many more to follow.

We have had some other good holidays with the boys – it takes planning though, trust me!  Hamilton Island (“Best Holiday Ever”) and Sorrento (“Surviving New Years”).