Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Boys to Men August 9, 2013

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footballI was reminded last week of the benefits of sport and how wonderful it is to observe boys becoming men.  One of the men-children played football this season, fortunate enough to play in the First squad with mainly Year 12 boys (sadly his brother has hung up his rugby boots now that he has left school – no amount of cajoling, encouraging or threatening helping to convince him to keep playing).

For our footballer, I noted a couple of benefits from this season – one, he played with older boys, I am sure a good influence as they are more mature (the drinking games they taught him at the end of season party were NOT an advantage!).  Two, he observed up close how they are balancing the demands of Year 12 and sport.  And he formed good friendships with some of his teammates, a strongly bonded group, with a great bunch of very supportive parents.

At the end of season gathering, another great chance for the boys and their parents to get together (they really do the parent participation exceptionally well), there were the traditional speeches, videos and presentations to boys and coaches.  Naturally each parent delighted in the comments made about their son, all clearly proud to receive such public praise and recognition.

I especially love to see the wonderful young men speak publicly, about their coaches, their teammates, their parents, their school.  To witness men-children on the cusp of adulthood, showing grace and maturity is heart-warming and reminds me that my own men-children are on the same pathway, about to emerge from adolescence to adulthood like a beautiful butterfly from a chrysalis.

And whilst we don’t see that side of them often, more the prickly caterpillars at home, or the jousting testosterone-laden lion cubs, I am confident that the persona they present to others is of delightful, well-adjusted, polite young men, with no hint of the way they sometimes behave for their parents at home (isn’t it always the case)?

For those who wonder what happened last week (I know, NO post), could it be that Mother of a Man-Child’s days of writing thrilling stories about the adventures of her men-children is coming to an end?  That they will stop to provide me with excellent material for the blog, simply through the things they do on a daily basis, because they are finally growing up?  Let’s hope not!!!  Although last week passed without any unusual incidents, so I was left bereft of a worthy tale.

I have written about the celebration of boys through sport before – such an important part of their school life.  https://motherofamanchild.com/2011/08/26/a-celebration-of-boys-through-sport/

 

 

A Celebration Of Boys Through Sport August 26, 2011

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I attended a function at the men-children’s school recently (yes, we had three events in seven days) and it gave me reason to reflect as the Mother-of-a-Man Child on the journey of my sons from boys to adolescents to adults.

The event I attended was the Rugby Presentation night.  As the team manager for one of the men-children’s teams (ironic since I know virtually nothing about rugby no matter how hard I try to learn the rules – apparently the prerequisite was being good at email communication), I decided that this year I would like to attend the evening.

Father-of-a-Man-child and I tend to play tag team at these events anyway, mainly because we have the much younger Sister-of-a-Man-Child at home, and it’s just too big an impost to all go to everything, especially on a school night.  Hubby had been to the AFL presentation night just a few nights earlier, so it seemed fair to share the load.

The night was really like any sporting presentation night.  A great compilation video to open the night, followed by Coaches awards for each year level (best player, most improved, etc), gifts presented to coaches, recognition for the all important 1st team (this is predominantly made up of year 12’s and other boys who excel in the sport), and special awards.

No doubt since I hadn’t attended one before I probably enjoyed it more than many.  I doubt the format changes year in, year out.  As some of you would know, the end of year primary school concert, as gorgeous as it is, loses some of it’s joy by the time you’ve attended four or five of them, and you know you’ve got another 10 to go with your daughter following your sons through the school!!!

But we digress – back to the rugby evening.  My overwhelming sense of the night was that it really was a true celebration of boys.  Collectively they represented a wonderful display of teamwork, mateship, determination, and dedication by both coaches and students alike.  Many of the coaches referred to watching the boys progress over the year as they grew into young men, witness to the ever-changing physical and emotional rollercoaster that is adolescence.  Some were very frank about the challenges of coaching the boys, particularly at certain ages when they are more anti-authoritarian, but even then, you could tell they enjoyed the challenge and delighted in the development of the boys and what they had achieved throughout the season.

Above all, I also got an amazing sense of the bond they all shared through their love of the game of rugby.  It was quite a contagious feeling, and made me pleased to be playing even a very minor part in the sport.  It also gave me an insight into Father-of-a-man-child’s passion for the local AFL footy club of which he is President.  It takes up way too much of his time, but now I think I can understand why he just can’t get enough of the club.

For us, we love that both of our men-children are active in sport.  Be it AFL, Rugby or Rowing, what became clear for me is the importance for them to be part of a team, to do their best, to enjoy the pursuit of sporting excellence, to put in the effort to get the reward, and to have fun whatever the result.  And above all, to just be boys, becoming young men, playing sport, with all the stuff that goes with it. 🙂

Read more about being a Mother in a Man’s world here, reflecting on the book “He’ll be OK, by Celia Lashlie”.

 

Mother of a Man-Child: Don’t they learn? Part II August 13, 2010

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As you will recall, last week Mother of a Man-Child II had yet again performed his Houdini trick, disappearing at midnight for a late night visit with friends.  I discovered this at 3am in the morning when I found his bed looking rather empty.  You would also know it was 4.45am before his father arrived home with him, having picked him up from a train station some distance away!!!

The first thing I actually did when he walked in the door was asked for his mobile phone.  Two things surprised me initially:

  • One, his mobile had no pin code on it – I thought Mother of a Man-Child II was smarter than that – to protect it in case stolen and to stop prying mothers looking at the phone.
  • Two, much to my disappointment, there were no text messages on his phone.  When I enquired why, he said he always automatically deletes them (the opposite behaviour of most people I’m sure).

Momentarily deflated by this, I decided to check the call log on his phone.  Bingo!

Not only could I see all the recently received calls (including some stalker called his mother) but I could also see all the recently placed calls.  The best thing about call logs of course is that it includes times, numbers or names (when in the address book) and dates.  The detective now had exactly the evidence required.  And yes, I was particularly smug about this fact, and did think myself extremely clever.  I will enjoy it whilst it lasts, because it’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to repeat this feat – my son isn’t that stupid!  Score:  Parents 1, Kids 0.

So now armed with clear evidence of who had been involved in the late night escapade (and yes a girl was at the top of the list), we retired to bed for a few pathetic hours more sleep.  What astounds me is that Mother of a Man-Child II thought it was perfectly acceptable to be out from midnight to 5am and then have a 2 hour rugby training session and play an AFL game the following day.   The fact that he managed to play so well as to get Best on Ground left me further gob-smacked – freak child.

So Sunday morning came around.  My first call was to the home of his school friend to find out if he had been out the night prior.  Well, it transpires that this particular friend had actually been caught at the front door by his parents trying to leave home, and made up some bull-dust story about hearing noises at midnight.  When his parents found a backpack with clothing and shoes outside the front of the house, they quickly wised up.  When I told them about Mother of a Man-Child II’s travels, they knew they had foiled a clever plan.  Score:  Parents 2, Kids 0.

Then it was onto the offending female, who had called my son from her mobile and her home, thereby providing me with a landline number and direct access to her parents.   Glee – until I received a recorded message.  I was reluctant to leave a message lest the daughter erased it, or wised up to my calls but eventually I did.  When the father called me back he was naturally very interested to learn about his daughter’s activities the prior night.  Score:  Parents 3, Kids 0.

There were also some phone numbers that had no name, so naturally I called them.  One was a parents phone that the child had obviously used, the other interestingly was the phone of one of the 14-year-old female visitors to my house a few weeks ago – hmmm, seems she hadn’t quite learned her lesson, and was still roaming the streets late at night.

So now I have a dilemma.  The only way to let this girl’s parents know what she’s doing on a regular basis is to contact her school.  I am still thinking about whether or not this is the right thing to do, as it involves more than just her parents.  Advice welcome!

In terms of Man-Child II, I have told him that when we extend upstairs I will be having a zoned alarm complete with trip wire put at the base of the stairs, thereby ensuring he cannot leave our house without my knowledge.  And trust me the upstairs window won’t be an option – even for Houdini.  🙂