A seaside mother’s lament

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Pragmatic idealist, change agent and champion of women and leadership who thinks we need more women at the top to ensure a strong and just society, Deborah May writes:

Why do the kids have to grow up? Why do they leave home just when they become fabulous company?

I spent last weekend at Coogee beach, Sydney, with the whole family – my 20 year old son, two step kids – 19 and 15, and my partner, relaxing, laughing, enjoying the beach, the weather and incredibly, the company!

Just five years ago, getting together and blending a family seemed formidable. Luckily the kids all got on and that smoothed the way. The angst still ebbs and flows when the step-kids feel resentful about traipsing between family houses, or protective of their other parent, but generally after all this time, it’s pretty damn good – especially when we don’t have to dilute our time together with domestic chores or work pressures.

The two boys are no longer at home, so this weekend was a time to covet them. Watching them goof around, teasing their sister and bantering with us was wonderful.  It’s as if loads of time and no time had passed.

Their mannerisms and playfulness remain unchanging but there’s less conflict. Time has flown, they’re older, more mature, have more responsibility but when we go away as a family, they’re young, much more relaxed and even better, not at all embarrassed to be hanging out with us!

Leaving me at the hotel so they could return to Canberra and I could meet client obligations in Sydney felt heart-wrenching. On the one hand, I feel incredibly blessed to have spent the weekend with them. On the other, I’m grieving because these opportunities are so infrequent and two of the kids leave for overseas adventures in January.

On one hand, I’m content that they’re so well equipped to get on with their lives and they’re doing it. On the other, I’m conflicted because I’m not sure how equipped I am to get on without them.

Happy and sad, the good with the bad. Here today and gone in a heart-beat.  A mother’s lot?

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