So, here I am very early on Godzilla’s 17th birthday, resting on the corner of Testosterone Lane and Horsepower Road. Having two teen boys in the house means a lot of muscle flexing, boundary pushing, and territory marking. They wake with teasing exchanges that rapidly morph into the rat-tat-tat of suddenly flared tempers. And before long, like two elephant seals, they’re bumping and jostling each other over the most trivial of things. Left to their own devices, I’m sure they’d find a way to argue over two flies climbing up the wall.
This week my essay on grief was published on Modern Loss, an online journal containing resources and personal accounts about death, loss, and grief. It’s a piece I’m proud of, and I’m delighted it was published, but it’s also a piece that causes such turmoil in me.
‘And today’s sermon shall be on the value of chastity.’ The bitter thought swirls and sticks as I sit, eyes downcast, a penitent look fixed firmly on my face, listening to Mum berate me for missing my curfew, yet again. Why doesn’t she get it? Her rules were fine when I was a kid, but I’m almost an adult now, it’s time she came to terms with that.
What do you do when your 15 year old son comes to you with a problem you can’t solve?
What do I do? I do mental backflips. As a mother, I’m always quietly (or sometimes not so quietly) delighted when my teenaged sons decide to confide their deepest thoughts, troubles, and the issues they’re currently wrestling with in me. It’s a rare treasure.
Today, in the aftermath of a violent, unhinged man holding people hostage in the Lindt chocolate cafe in Sydney, killing two, causing physical injuries to more, and unseen psychological damage to so many more, I am heartsore. In the aftermath of a young, unarmed African American man being shot to death, ostensibly for changing lanes illegally while driving, by Houston police, I’m searching for the humanity in human beings. In the aftermath of the Taliban attack today on a school in Pakistan killing 141 people, I am despondent.
When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run.
~ Abraham Lincoln
A strange thing happens between mothers and sons in the teen years. The chubby fingers of childhood loose their grip, the adoring eyes fall less often on you, the gifts of rocks and sticks and feathers become fewer. A distance insinuates itself between you.