SWEET 16

I’m feeling strange this week. A mixture of pride and fear is washing over me. My first born is turning 16.
The boy who followed me everywhere, had to be forcedly removed from me in his early primary days. The boy who twirled me round his little finger, I couldn’t see it. He’s still here but there is another person starting to emerge.
This new person can start learning to drive this week. Wants to hang out with his friends at parties, or gatherings (gathos). He can keep quiet and not say a word for an entire 40 minute car journey. Sometimes he’s sulking but sometimes he’s deep in thought. What is he thinking? I ask strategically chosen questions but I’m not MI5. I can’t crack him.
If he’s not in the gym, he’s on the rugby field. He’s taller and weighs more than me. On a Good Friday in Gosford hospital 16 years ago he refused to be born. After 40 hours and surgery he had no choice. He was pulled from me, held up by doctors for me and the husband to see. Later we discussed ‘the look’ our baby had given us. “He looked pissed off,” my husband commented and I agreed. Our baby lay in the hospital crib, legs crossed, and seemingly relaxed. All 9 pounds and 11 and a half ounces of him. His lips pressed together in a pout, a flash of red hair which turned to white blonde in the weeks that followed.
He was the naughtiest child in mothers group. Piling chairs up at 3 to reach a box of matches. Pouring cooking oil on our rental house carpets. Once viewing a big clean empty McMansion he escaped to the toilet. Grabbed the blue-loo thing and wiped his inky hands over surfaces and walls. Threw stones at the colourbond fence until our new neighbour told him off.
At five his favourite song was by Andy Williams – Music to Watch the Girls go by. At seven he knitted himself dreadlocks and sewed them to a cap, wore them with a denim jacket. At nine he was rarely seen without a pork pie hat, Suggs from Madness was his idol. At 10 he started playing rugby. At 13 he left his Steiner school and started at the local state high. Hundreds of kids streamed into the gates wearing their primary school uniform on Transition Day. My son was dressed in a rainbow shirt and boardies. “Where’s your uniform?” they asked. “This is my uniform”. “Cool”, they replied. I still like to think so.
This will be a year of change. Of growth and adventures. Just not mine.
Happy Birthday son.

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4 thoughts on “SWEET 16

  1. Can you imagine – we had ‘naughty children’ …. and they wrapped us around their fingers and we watched them with a fascination nothing else has ever provoked. I cannot wait for the day that he eyes suspiciously and waits for me to saying something inexplicably goofy … can’t wait.

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