Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Happy Family Holidays July 19, 2013

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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”).

 

Sometimes you just have to say NO! May 4, 2012

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roadAs you know we now have two learner drivers in the house. The upside – we got “chauffeured” to a school function the other evening – one drove us there, one drove us home. And we didn’t have to worry about nudging 0.05. (Don’t worry, I’m pretty certain you can’t be over the limit if you’re supervising the said learner driver, but you get my point – it’s the difference between relaxing over a glass or two of wine versus drinking water all night because you’re so paranoid you’ll get breathalysed on the way home).

The downside of learner drivers is when one of them asks if he can drive to Queensland with his girlfriend and her older brother in the July school holidays? Yes, the very same Man-Child who has the incredible sum of two hours driving practice currently under his belt (and in his log book). I am not giving any of you points for guessing what the response was, because it was an immediate “absolutely NOT” kind of response that should have ended the conversation right then and there. But alas, it was our Man-Child who won’t ever take NO for an answer. The one who just goes on and on at you in the hope you’ll just give in. But as you know, I’d sooner throw a cask of wine at him than give in. (If you don’t know that story, you can read it here for your own amusement).

Now please don’t get me wrong, we’re not averse to our son having a holiday in Queensland with his girlfriend and the older 30-something brother, but he seemed shocked that we would want ANY detail at all? For example, where in Queensland would you stay? (Last time I checked it’s a mighty large state!) Does the brother work? Will he be on holidays with you or working every day? Who else is going? What does he do for a job? (Okay, maybe a little nosy, but we don’t know him at all, so it’s a fair question). Who does he live with? (I can’t help but have visions of a group of bong smoking, tequila-drinking boys playing cards).

My son was affronted by my questions, and couldn’t understand why I didn’t automatically trust an older brother. Simple I said – because he’s not a PARENT!!! And that changes everything in my book, fairly or not.  And so the conversation went around and around. Can I go by car to Queensland but only as a passenger? NO. Especially since his girlfriend who doesn’t even have her Learner’s permit yet was proposing to test her driving skills (using that term very loosely) on the way to Queensland.

I have done the Queensland drive more than I’d prefer to remember. My scariest memory is leaving the road travelling at 100kmh with a mate (who was driving) and hitting the grass paddock roadside – it could have ended a very different story if there’d been trees trust me. Or with my father driving years ago and the car just missing the semi trailer coming in the opposite direction, who didn’t have his headlights on at dusk as we overtook another car. I think my father nearly had heart failure when he realised what we’d just avoided!!!

So yet again, the wisdom of the parent is lost on the child. I think we’ve made our position clear for now, but we are often getting the “Now I’m 16 I can do what I want” response on a regular basis. How we deal with that is a whole other blog post best left for another time.

So tell me, are we being too tough? Or paranoid? Should we be worried or not about the driving? Or the unknown older brother? I’d love to know what you think.