Thursday, 6 February 2014

Flying the Nest (and what I hope I've taught my son)

It's been over a week since my eldest son officially got on a plane and moved interstate.  

The big gaping whole of quiet that I expected in our home hasn't happened.  Firstly, because there are still three boys here to fill our home with noise. Secondly, because one of the benefits, perhaps, of Michael having a working gap year after finishing school was that his presence very gradually removed itself from our home as he partied, stayed with friends and took little trips around the country.  We haven't had to go Cold Turkey.  
The big gaping whole seems to exist, however, in our hearts.  I find myself constantly saying or thinking, "This is the first time we'll (such-and-such) without him!"  The boys will say "when Michael gets home..." and I have to remind them that we won't be seeing him for a little while. 
Like all mothers, I expect to continue to worry about him no matter how old he is. I think, perhaps, I'll worry even more so because he's so far away from us. 

The one thing that is easing my mind and in which I'm taking solace is the fact that I have taught him, hopefully, everything he needs to navigate this big, wide world.

Some of these he knows and that's evident in his everyday actions and words and others, I hope, have been ingrained in him and he will find the wisdom in them on his own. (I'm mainly talking here about laundry and personal hygiene. If you have a teenage boy, you'll know what I mean!)

So here's what I hope I have taught my son....
* What it feels like to be loved and that to love someone else unconditionally is the most amazing thing in the world. 

* That it is important to trust others and to demonstrate yourself to be trustworthy. 

* To always respect others and garner respect through your actions and words. 

* The importance of knowing how to prepare nutritious meals for yourself and the pleasure of making something delicious to share with others. 

* Washing sheets, towels and clothes regularly is necessary. 

* Swearing is not acceptable in front of women and children. It's really not nice at all. 

* Words like gay and retarded are not derogatory terms nor should they be used as such. 

* Be a humble winner and a gallant loser. 

* If you do the wrong thing own up to it, apologise and do all you can to make up for it. 

* Never stop learning. I'm talking every single day.

* Mistakes are proof that you are trying.  Learn from them and try again.

* Family comes first. Always. 
* Try to see situations from other people's perspectives, even if they are a bully. 

* Never used your words or your size to make other people feel inferior. 

* New technology makes etiquette hard to follow, but some things shouldn't be done via text. If you have to let someone down or break a girl's heart have the decency to do it in person. 

* Doing the right thing is not always easy or popular. Do it anyway. 

* And finally, that no matter what you do, where you go or how big you are, Mum and Dad are always here for you.   We've got your back - for life.


  1. What a beautiful post. Wishing you much love as your big boy steps further out into the world x

  2. What an absolutely beautiful post, and what a wonderful job you have and are doing as a mother. Facing a similar situation with my own daughter taking her gap year this before joining the police force at the end of the year. Visiting via, weekend rewind and so happy to have found you xx

    1. Thank you, Nicole! It is so hard to send them out into the world, isn't it? All the best to you and your daughter - this year and next!

  3. Any child that gets a Mum to write them this list is pretty lucky, I think he is going to be wonderfully fine.

    1. Oh, Claire, I can't even tell you how much that comment means to me. xx

  4. What a great list. Does he read your blog? It'd be lovely to know what his reaction was.

    1. I sent him the link, Lilybett. Will let you know if he mentions it!

  5. Oh Sarah, this post just filled me with so much emotion. I cant even imagine what I will be like when the time comes for any of my boys to leave home. My oldest went to camp for 3 days this week and i was nearly beside myself missing him. Big hugs to your hun - you sure do make beautiful boys xx

    1. Thank you kindly, Sonia! And thank you for the awesome Weekend Rewind Linkup! It is so hard to let them go out into the world - even on camp for 3 days! x

  6. I love your lessons. All children should learn these. Particularly the washing one!

    1. The hardest and most important lesson to teach a teenage boy, Annaleis!

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