Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ode To My Son

Tomorrow my oldest son will turn eighteen. In honour of this momentous occasion I would like to share a few things I have learnt along the way:
1) Teenagers are not as scary as they look.
Having started young, most of my friend's children are still toddlers or in primary school. They ask me, "What is it like having a teenager?"
I answer, "It is still your child, just in a different body."
2) It doesn't matter how cool or young or hip you think you are, in your teenager's eyes you aren't. The sooner you accept this the better.
3) Even though he is now twice my height and shaves he still wants cuddles.
4) A houseful of boys soon becomes a houseful of men. (!)
5) Despite having birthed him and bathed him and fed him, and having lived with him for the greater part of the last eighteen years, I realise I only know, and can only ever know, one small part of my son.
This was brought into stark reality last Saturday night when, after eighteen years of avoiding the inevitable, I decided it was time for my son to have a proper birthday party. My son let me know that he would like to invite fifty (!) of his nearest and dearest, and as our home is a small as a matchbox (see point 4) we hired a dance studio above a Mexican Restaurant.
From the sidelines, I watched my son in awe as he chatted, danced (my son dances!) and later made a speech. Watching him speak in front of all his friends allowed me, for the first time, a glimpse of who my son is in the world. He was so funny and smart and confident. His friends laughed and cheered all throughout the speech and then embraced him at the end.
And I realised, at that moment, while there are times where I have been everything to him, there will also be times where I can only watch him from the sidelines, and hope that I have done enough things right for him to go out into this world without me.


  1. Oh Sally! How beautiful. And from the sounds of it, what a magnificent job you have done. Hugs to you, from one mother of a son, to another...
    Tye xxxx

  2. Thanks Tye. Yes, there is an instant bond between mothers of sons, I think!

  3. Made me teary. He's lucky to have you as a mum.

  4. Thanks Whitney - I can say the same for your son! And look at that amazing trail he is blazing already! I can't keep with him. Tell him to come and tour down here.

  5. Erin was right. You've made me cry, sally! Teenagers are so underrated. I love them. Mine have taught me so much about all manner of stuff and they make me feel old and young all at the same time. Weird. Jxx

  6. Thanks Jen. Lovely to share writerly angst over coffee with you today and glimpse your gorgeous son. x

  7. Nice work Sally, Congrats on your boy/man..
    Love Paul RB

  8. Hey Paul, nice to hear from you! I think we are definitely long overdue for a catch-up. x

  9. Wow.

    : ) xxxx

    Congrats to the whole family from us!

  10. Thanks Inari. Yes, 'wow' is the word. Love to you two and your feathered friends. x

  11. Nadine CranenburghMay 13, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    Hi Sally,

    What a beautiful post! Thanks for giving me hope for the teen-years (I loved the bit about still needing cuddles).

  12. This made me cry as well! My daughter is only six and sometimes I FEAR the teenager stage as I can't imagine all her dramas multiplied. You have given me hope. xx

  13. Hi Nadine and Josephine - as far as I'm concerned they just keep getting better and better. :-)