For All The Girls My Sons Have Not Yet Loved

Under the branches of a gum tree bending in the wind, Peta and Connor’s eyes were fixed on their shoes.

Neither was concerned with the wintry weather nor that some of their closest friends were not in attendance. They were to be married today in front of over 400 people. 

In keeping with tradition, the pair were united with a kiss.

As the bride ran over to join the girls, the groom was overheard to say, ‘I thought we were just going to hug. Before I knew it she just came at me and kissed me.’

Beaming with a mixture of pride and shock, the mother of the bride said that any thoughts of a honeymoon have been postponed until these two 6 year olds turn 21.

Having two boys, 6 and 3, I thought time was on my side.

In anticipation of what is to come, a rethink began.

While neither of them have had a girlfriend yet, preparations will need to be made.

I have high expectations for them, and of them.

It is with this in mind that I, as their mum, do solemnly promise that:

  • my boys will be surrounded with positive role models from which to learn
  • my boys will show respect and learn how to treat girls and women as ladies
  • they will never arrive empty handed on a doorstep
  • they will learn how to say sorry from the bottom of their heart because they will make mistakes
  • flowers and chocolates are thoughtful but are not the way into a ladies heart, good books or bed
  • behaving like you’re with ‘the boys’ should be reserved for when you’re actually with the boys
  • they will learn what it takes to be considered a true gentleman
  • ‘I love you’ should only be said if you truly feel it
  • while my heart is still beating, they will never use social media to announce the demise of your relationship
  • I will dry the tears and hug him if you break his heart, then remind him, once again, of all of the above.

As my 6 year old ventures onto the oval at school during his lunch break, he need not think of love. It will find him in due course and I’ll do my darnedest to help him be ready.

Image from: here.

Love Got Off on the Right Foot

….or was that the left?

Ever have one of those days when everything just feels out of whack? Maybe your hair just wouldn’t cooperate this morning or you tried to put the wrong key in the lock? Milk in the pantry maybe or trying to put your pants on before your underwear? Something’s not right but you can’t put your finger on it.

My brain must have been replaced with the contents of a balloon this particular peculiar day.

The three of us had left home to have lunch with my mum. I asked Now 6 to help Just 3 with his shoes to save me 30 seconds and hopefully get us out the door on time.

We met Mum, enjoyed a light lunch and then went into a department store to find a gift for a child’s birthday party. The store was having its annual toy sale which normally means aisles full of boxes and no room to manoeuvre. Going into the depths of the toy section with two in tow without a trolley means anxiety meets hysteria. The unanimous decision, made by me, was to get a trolley.

Just 3’s legs dangled from his prominent position as I promised a stop off at a playground nearby if the two of them could manage to contain themselves long enough for us to get a gift and checkout. Unfortunately Just 3 had consumed half a milkshake at lunch and decided he needed the toilet just as we got to the toy section at the back of the store.

There are no toilets in this store.

Drive trolley like a mad woman to store entrance.

Offload precious cargo.

Forehead beaded with sweat, I made a dash with two attachments to the toilets.

Everybody pee consecutively.

Back to store.

Back in trolley.

Back to toy section.

Right-y-o.

Arriving at the playground after having unsuccessfully completed our mission, Just 3 steps out of the car and prepares to take off for the equipment.

It is then, and only then, that I look down at his feet for the first time today.

‘Sweetheart? Do your feet feel funny today?’

‘Um, no.’

‘Your shoes are on the wrong feet. Don’t they feel funny?’

‘…..No.’

‘Come here and sit down. We need to put them on the right feet otherwise you’ll probably fall over.’

My son doesn’t need any more excuses to trip over. He does well enough all on his own.

He may well have two left feet so his feet didn’t feel funny at all.

Only one foot did.

Image from: here.

I Love You More Today

moreI love you more today than yesterday.

Just when I think it is not possible to love you anymore than I already do, you manage to make my heart feel fuller than it has ever been.

It might be the look of concentration on your face as you build a block tower higher than yesterday’s. Or your confidence doing backwards rolls off the lounge that you weren’t able to do the day before. Or the new words that spill forth from your mouth that you didn’t know a short time ago.

My love grows as you do. Tomorrow you’ll show me more reasons to love you. You might tree-hug my leg when I’m least expecting it or tell me you love me just because.

No matter how much mess you make, how loud you are or how disagreeable you may be, as long as I don’t let tomorrow come without having told you I love you at least once, I’m happy.

I’ll love you for all of my tomorrows.

Image from: here.

Foot note: I re-read this today more as a reminder to myself than anything else. Tomorrow sees the school holidays start here in South Australia and I’m looking forward to the arrival of 2.15pm. Following that is 17 days where my primary responsibility will be entertainment coordinator to my two nuggets and writing will take a back seat. There’ll be no forgetting to say, ‘I love you’, but I might need to take many more cleansing deep breaths than normal.

Love in this Day and Age

‘You’re only as young as the woman you feel, or in my case – man.

I am younger then by the same amount of time it takes a foetus to reach term, if that stands to reason. There is a gestation period of difference between my husband and I. His parents wouldn’t have even known that they were going to give birth to their first child, a son, the day I was born. So while I was taking my first breaths of air he was still sucking on amniotic fluid. He was growing downy hair all over his body when I moved onto solid foods. By the time he was born, I was on the move; wearing out the knees of my romper suits and collecting lint and hair off the floor.

When we’re young it’s all about the milestones and birthdays. Cheers ring out and hands are clapped in delight as a baby or toddler manages to learn a new concept, skill or ability.

As we get older those milestones are more about the number attached to us. We carry that sucker around like an extra appendage. Some lie while others are creative with subtraction. For many it’s a matter of remaining young at heart-it’s the inside that counts, after all.

At a visit to the doctor with Now 6 when he was a 3 year old, an elderly gentlemen sat down beside us. He must have been close to his octogenarian decade but seemed to have retained most of his faculties. He took an interest in the scribble drawing my son was doing and then said to me, ‘that’s a fine looking grandson you have there.’ I do remember mumbling a reply about him being my son as my heart only just managed to regain a regular rhythm. It was fortunate we were at the doctors as I was certain a heart attack was imminent. Perhaps he was there to see the doctor about finally getting a prescription for glasses.

Several weeks ago, I had an informal meeting with the principal at Now 6’s school. I was being scrutinised to see whether I would be an appropriate replacement for the German teacher when she takes leave in the Spring. My experience was asked about and when I answered the question I included the year that I first began teaching. I was met with raised eyebrows and an audible ‘wow’. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve hung around 5 year olds for nearly half my life that has kept me young. Hmmmm.

When I met with the teacher whose role I will be filling she kindly concurred about the difference between my chronological age and my perceived age.  (Note to readers: I have known this teacher since 1999 when I taught her son who is now 26 and we have kept in contact since then). Apparently I am thinner now even though I’ve been the same weight since high school, except during pregnancies, and have given birth twice since then. I don’t have a forehead full of Botox and on a good day I feel every one of my near-40 years. This ‘holding my age well’ card might come in handy if I ever have the need to chat up some young gents at the R.S.L. I could fill the role of a 60 year old cougar to get a free shandy or two.

If I had to categorise myself, I am one of those people who find it to be a difficult and dicey situation when someone asks me how old I think they are. Think of a number and subtract 15? That should cover all bases. When I’m asked how old I am, particularly by cheeky students who haven’t learned the unwritten code of conduct for someone who wants an ‘A’ this semester, my generic responses include:

‘How old are you?’ -answering a question with a question sometimes deflects the inquirer.

‘How old do you think I am?’ -see above.

or

‘Old enough to be your mother.’ – which normally puts them back in their box.

The time will come soon enough where my final response will have to change to Grandmother.

So herein lies the question. Does it matter what’s written on your birth certificate or what others think? How do you tackle the age old questions, ‘how old are you’ or ‘how old do you think I am?’ Have you ever done creative number crunching, turned 21 for fifteen years in a row or had someone overestimate your age by a whole generation?

Image from: here.

Love in Overdrive

driving mum madLove’s driving me crazy.

There’s nothing like a confined space and two small people with loud voices both competing to be heard.

My favourite driving experiences are:

The School RunShort and sweet. Hmm, short yes, sweet no. Those few short minutes can feel like sheer torture. Is the bickering and banter their way of saying, ‘I’ll miss you or I’ve missed you?’ Whatever the case may be it’s enough to drive anyone batty.

The Trip to the Grandparents: similar to the School Run just longer in length. There’s also the added anticipation of arriving. The excitement builds to a crescendo just as we pull in the driveway. My eardrums feel as if they might explode and the grandparents think that a tornado is about to hit the house. It is obvious to all concerned that I have little/no control over my terrors.

The Big Day Out Drive: setting out at shortly after the sparrow’s have sung their morning tune and arriving home close to dinner time denotes a Big Day Out. Wherever we may be headed we have a packed lunch, picnic rug, esky and bag (filled to the brim with spare clothes, hats, sunscreen, etc). The expected, ‘Are we there yet’s?’ start when we’re approximately half way there. It’s been smooth sailing the whole way if we don’t have to stop for petrol or the toilet en route.

The Great Escape: we’ve prepared for this for weeks but nothing can prepare us for the journey ahead. The car is crammed with half the contents of our house. The tailgate on the wagon will only just close. There’s pillows between the kids on the seat. It’s like we’ve tried to build the Great Wall between them so they can’t touch or see each other. The kids have got numerous things to keep them occupied. A game of ‘Eye Spy’ starts before we hit the freeway. If we’re lucky they’ll nod off (syncronised is heaven) for a while shortly after, ‘Are we there yet-i-tis?’ has commenced.

The Solo Cruise: doesn’t happen too often but when it does, Oh Boy! A chance to listen to adult tunes at any volume you please. Window up or down, whatever takes you fancy. And that annoying noise coming from the back of the car? It’s completely gone!

Mum’s taxi will be off again in the morning with the boys I love on board.

How do you cope with the calamity of children in cars for the quick trip or the long haul?

Footnote: After originally publishing this post in February, I decided to revisit it today as it was one of the first ‘pieces’ I wrote that exceeded several lines in length and had some substance. It is also the basis for the idea of my first picture book manuscript. My self-imposed deadline of June 30 is looming. I think my set of wheels needs a car detailer.

Image from: here.

A Pot of Love at Rainbow’s End

A Rainbow of Love

Mother Nature produced a spectacular display in this neck of the woods recently.

Not being one who particularly likes rain, I shifted my focus towards the blue sky in the east.

Unfortunately we were headed west which looked grey, dark and miserable except for the majestic rainbow that had materialised in front of us.

As I drove Just 3 to our first stop, Now 6 and I talked of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

We neared our destination and I said, ‘Look! The rainbow ends right on top of the roof at childcare. Maybe the teachers know where the pot of gold is.’

Now 6 chimed in with a positive comment concurring with my suggestion.

The talk of rainbows and the illusive treasure ended as I hustled Just 3 through the drizzle, without the aid of an umbrella, in through the front door.

The formality of hugs and kisses over, I made the dash to the car and Now 6 and I continued to our second stop.

School drop off completed, I headed for my final destination-work.

Reverse the above scenario of stopping and starting until finally arriving home in the afternoon.

At the dinner table that night we all talked about our respective days as is customary when we all spend it in different places. After hearing recounts of everyone’s activities, highlights and plans for the following day, Just 3 had one more thing to add.

‘I asked the teacher today about the pot of gold.’ With eyebrows raised, palms up and a shake of the head, he said, ‘She didn’t even know where it was.’

Love those golden moments.

Image from: here.

Seeking Love

Love found me today.

On the walk through the school yard you caressed my hair.

In the car you stroked my fingers.

I lost you for a moment when I arrived home. I sat by the window waiting for you to reappear. I closed my eyes and could soon feel your presence.

You were right behind me when I hung clothes outside; ever present, watching over my shoulder.

We played hide and seek in the yard. You hid behind trees but I never tired of finding you, time and time again. Every time I did, you embraced me. You would leave me with a smile and flushed cheeks.

These bones of mine kept moving trying to keep up with your constant motion.

Near the end of the day we stopped at the park to enjoy the last hour we would have together today. We both knew I’d see you again soon enough. Even still, I wished you could stay that little bit longer. I didn’t want you to go. Not right now. Not just yet. The last thing you did was kiss my forehead. I sat on the bench and watched you go until I could no longer see you.

My soul is thankful for the day we shared. You have left me with a warm and full heart.

If I concentrate enough I can still feel the warmth of your touch. Until you return I will suffer a sadness so profound.

I love you, son. I love you, sun.

Image from: here.