Tag Archives: son

The only family without a microwave

microwaves 2

The pang in my chest caught me by surprise as son three said after school one day, kids at school had been laughing at him.

‘Why?’ I demanded. I was ready to rip into the school for allowing those kids to laugh at my gorgeous guy and into those mocking tweeters, and anyone else around me that dared say a word.

‘Because we don’t have a microwave,’ he smiled and half rolled his eyes. ‘They want to know how we heat up food.’

My mouth dropped. I didn’t know how to respond.

‘My friends laugh at me too,’ said son two. ‘Because we don’t have a microwave. We’re the only ones that don’t!’

‘And we still have a T.V. that has a big bulge in the back,’ chimed in son one, stealing my attention from son two. ‘My friends laugh at me for that! And my grey runners. Everyone else has coloured ones.’

I looked at the three boys sitting around the dining table, peeling the melted dark chocolate that coated the fruit cake I’d baked on the weekend and eating that before the cake. They seemed happy enough. I didn’t think they were too concerned.

‘And one kid in class wanted to know why I was eating two apples,’ said son three, licking his chocolate. ‘I could eat three!’

‘I want to know when we can go on a holiday and relax on a beach, like in a resort.’

Poor kids! What have I done to them? But no. As a parent, I’ve done what I believe to be right. ‘Well, microwaves are no good,’ I said. ‘They kill off all the good stuff when you heat things up.’

The nurse’s voice resonated clear in my head, telling me when I had son one to never use a microwave to defrost and warm stored breast milk from the freezer because the microwave would damage the milk. She gave me research to read that outlined how a microwave changes the milk’s composition and causes a loss of nutrients and important immunological properties found in it. I deduced from that, that if a microwave can alter breast milk, it must change the properties of other foods too and so I never bought a microwave.

The three boys looked at me, smirking while eating, as if enjoying seeing me squirm at their interrogation.

‘And the T.V., well, it still works doesn’t it. Why buy another one if this one still works? That’s just a waste.’

‘We never get to have tiny teddies or shapes for school,’ said son two. ‘I haven’t got any good stuff to trade at lunchtime! No-one wants sour dough bread for lunch, except for Ticky. He loves it. But I haven’t got anything else good I can trade.’

The way he’s scoffing into the cake now that he’s finished the chocolate coating, I don’t think he’d want to trade his cake with anyone, that’s for certain! ‘I give you brain food,’ I said. ‘You know that. You all studied the brain at school and understand what it needs.’ They’re smart enough to know that.

They begin talking about a teacher at school and I drift into my own thoughts. They’re not bothered by not having those things and I think in a way, they like standing out as not being the same or one-of-the-crowd. They reek of individuality, in their sourcing of clothes from nonstandard shops like op shops and in their confidence to say no to their friends at a time when peer pressure is at its greatest. They’re not afraid to have friends from all walks of life.

As a parent, I do the best I can to raise my children and give them opportunities to experience, such as to travel around Europe and Asia as backpackers and not as tourists, or grow plants from seeds to pick their own beans, mandarins and apples, and to collect fresh eggs from our chooks. All parents give their own opportunities to their children. And our parents did the same for us.

It’s just that my experiences for my children happen to include learning to cook and heat food in a pot or in a conventional oven, and sometimes over a coal fire while camping.

Shattered beyond collection

smattered heartTwo mothers speak of the friend who has just lost her son in a most senseless act. Eyes brim weepy as a son’s life has ended, as a mother’s life fades grey.

How does a mother reason with a son gone, a life of future cut short without cause?

Weeps seep from eye sockets.

The friends lift their glasses and sip at the Shiraz, eager to wash down emotions that clog their throats. How do a mother and father ever come to terms with such loss? And his siblings?

Hearts shatter into the tiniest, minuscule of fragments, strewn beyond collection.

To lose a son is one thing, but to lose him at the mercy of another, after going out with friends one night, is unfathomable. Chased, and slain.

Buttery river rapids churn through a bottomless, vast chasm that is my gut.

I remember holding my son and catching a whiff of his musk cologne as we danced together the night before, our first dance as mother and young man. Emotions catch in my throat again.

Our friend and mother won’t have those opportunities. No more first-times, family dinners and holidays together, nor kisses hello. I swallow hard as my eyelashes soak in sadness. I think of my son again, who will walk home from a friend’s party tonight.

Weepy eyes, and buttery rapids dive down and around in that vast chasm, smashing into hardened cliffs and bouncing into inside ethers.

This senseless act has set a hardened, cement path in a family’s life that they could never have imagined, one that will never be removed no matter how hard any jackhammer can attempt to drill at it.

As my friend speaks to me, I notice speckled salt spots on the glass of my spectacles. I pick a tissue and rub them clean. Being a mother, I cannot help but think of that mother, what she must be feeling. I will never understand. Selfishly, I never want to.

Discerning life so early

It’s 9.20 on a Saturday night and I head for my bed. Some may say what a boring life I have, to be going to bed so early on a Saturday, but I work fulltime and have three children to look after so a social life isn’t something I try to fit in.

This Saturday night, a vibration in my pocket tickles into my hipbone. I realise it’s my phone and quickly pull it out. It’s a text from one of my boys.

‘Can you come and get me. I’ve had enough,’ it says.

He’s at his friend’s sixteenth birthday party and should be sleeping there after the party finishes. Warning bells ring. I immediately text back. ‘Of course I’ll pick you up. What time? Everything okay?’

He texts back quicker than I can type. ‘Yeah, cool. Just had enough and want to sleep in my own bed.’

‘Be there in ten minutes,’ I text back. I grab my keys and leave. I know something’s not right. What’s happened? He’s supposed to be at a party. It’s his good friend. Something’s happened.

My thoughts continue round and round while I drive across the railway tracks to pick him up, as though I’m caught in a thinking vortex that doesn’t release me or let me get anywhere.

I’m finally at his friend’s, and park the car. Two boys are outside, one with an arm over the other. I text my boy. ‘I’m outside.’

He texts back. ‘Be there in 2.’

While I wait in the darkness, another boy shoots out of the house and jogs a lap of the small patch of front lawn. He sees me and comes over to the car. Should I be nervous? No, don’t be silly I reason, he’s one of the friends. I hit the button beside me to wind the window half way down.

‘You want someone?’ he asks.

I don’t recognise him. ‘Yes, my boy.’

‘I’ll go get him for you,’ he says, smiling.

‘Thanks.’ Something’s not right, I know it. His eyes looked googly, cross-eyed, and his body seemed limpish.

Instantly, I see my boy in the rear vision mirror, bag in hand and talking to the boy with his arm over the other. He waves at the boys and walks over to the car. The door clicks open. A long leg folds in and down into the seat of the car, the rest of his body follows.

‘Hi Mum.’ My boy sits, shuts the door and leans over to kiss me hello. His breath smells fine thank goodness, but I need to hear him speak.

‘What’s happened?’ I ask. ‘You’ve never left a party early.’ I begin to drive, back to our home.

‘I’ve been working all day and I’m hungry and tired,’ he says.

‘Yeah,’ I say. I know there’s more.

‘And they’re drinking and I didn’t like the way they were carrying on,’ he says. ‘They act so stupid when they drink.’

And there it is. My beautiful boy is discerning and growing into a sensible, thinking young man. I feel my shoulders ease and my breath flow again.

‘And some of the older kids, the brother’s friends, went to the park and took some drugs.’

My thinking stops, my breath suspends, yet I continue driving. Drugs.

‘You okay,’ I ask.

‘Yeah, just don’t like it.’

‘Drugs are scary because they look so innocent,’ I say.

‘Yeah,’ says my boy, my warm, sensitive boy who at fifteen and a half, is understanding life’s dangers, of alcohol and drugs.

How did I get to be so blessed? Emotion chokes my throat. We drive home in silence, a comforting silence I feel in my boy and me.

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