18 and off – week 78

I started writing this in January but baulked at the emotions of having Number One Teen leave home. He’s been gone for a month. And by gone, I mean, Number One Teen is now attending university in the United States. Whilst most of the world is locked down and staying put, its the tenacity of a teenager that gets him into college and then out of a country that’s had its borders shut for nearly a year.

The initial sense of loss is real. Jab in the heart kind of feeling. Profound. Unreasonable? Likely.

Leaving home is a natural path of growing up, maturity, getting on in the world. Yet for the parents, this pathway is wrenching. I have friends who feel this same sense of loss with their Teens moving to another state. So it’s not distance, it has to be so much more. There are physiological neurons at play. A quick google points to research on this topic cited as “empty nest syndrome”, even if there are children still at home. These feelings of sadness and loss are typical in “empty nesters”, as part of the transition from parent to self.

Number One Teen rings daily (special thanks to Jan and Brian) with the vignette’s of his life that feel important. It’s the small bits that parents get use to, hanker for in the everyday madness of parenting.

One month into this transition I am feeling better, am busy with study (I’ve re-entered university life as a student) and have Number Two Teen shielding the next wave.

In two years, the time Number Two Teen leaves home, I’ll be back in fulltime work with an armour of tools in my kit to face another transition!

Spinning worlds – week 69

March already in a world that is spinning faster on its axis than ever before. Not actually true yet that’s the rush that surrounds parenting in 2017. Stop any parent at the school gate, sports stadium or Saturday traffic jam.

Tween One has reached the sky; we have seen him stretch tall to look over my head – the garden shed bears the tale-tell signs of pencil makings of a growing lad. He is relishing this lean languid of a new body.

Tween Two has also stepped into a new world of his self; new school–new friends–new routine. Exerting the rightfulness of independence, Tween Two has kicked away the ropes of primary school and enwrapped the offerings of high school tightly around his brave new world.

With this comes a change in parenting. 

Turning to the bruised knees of growing, as parents we are sometimes left holding the forgotten lunch that likely wasn’t going to be eaten anyway. How – just when the parent ebb is low, the hackles are up and the family feels of a battleground – there is delight, laughter and the immense joy and living with those whose everyday is growing up. 

I remember I’m more than a bystander. 

All love

Jessica x 

Rolling across the calendar – week 63

Easter is rolling across the calendar and Tweens One and Two have lovingly stamped in their requests for the Easter bunny – should he still be visiting our house. Fortunately visit or not our pet rabbit Scamp (male, not the cuddly type) will create magic on the day!

Scamp in the garden

With Easter comes the end of term one – the first term of high school for One and a touch of senior leadership in junior school for Tween Two.

Tween One’s interim school report tells stories of “being connected to all the students, embracing school life and all it has to offer”. But what does this say about home – there is anger, filthy looks and scowling negativity.

I’m dipping into my resources – from Dr Spock* to Blessings of a skinned knee, to Raising Boys and my recent edition Tricky Teens.

The “attitude” I read comes from cortisol – the stress hormone that is released with adrenaline, making tweens snappy, edgy and antsy says teen expert Andrew Fuller. And given Tween One is heading into his 13th birthday, I’m thinking there is a mass of cortisol bouldering through his system.

The cure? Time and patience with some family rituals and routines such as eating together with conversation and no distractions, checking in on the sugar intake and upping the water. And of course sleep – removing the technology at least 1/2 hour before bedtime to allow the brain to begin the process of sleep.

What is all this negativity like for Tween Two and the rest of the family? It’s awful, but that’s for another post.

Happy Easter if this is your thing, happy holidays for Australian’s who tread the last of the summer days, and – those in the northern hemisphere – bold into spring with glee.


in the library





29 March 2015

*Yes I realise Dr Spock being a baby expert can’t offer much guidance about tweens but I just thought it could be something from the baby days…


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