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Some distance — week 57

I’m in Berlin and my tween is in Melbourne.

After two weeks of family holidays in Asia, it’s probably a good thing to put some miles between us. That sounds tougher than I mean — I miss him, his brother and their father terribly. The airport farewell pulled my heart vigorously and I wondered what I was doing…

Back in Melbourne the tween has settled into the school routine with the added excitement of being in his last term of junior school, and more immediately, getting back into the basketball season.

Basketball is the tweens’ number one love.

It’s what he lives and breaths everyday.

The swish of a goal; the handling, the flip, the blocks and the “and ones”. There’s a life and a lingo that I didn’t know existed until four years ago.

As a player, a coach and a referee, the tween fills his Friday nights and Saturday’s with the resounding bounce of a ball.

It can be a wonder to watch when his head is up, a smile creases his eyes and the move maps across his face.

And afterwards, the flop on the sofa to recount his game plan, talk about his under 9 team he coaches and the calls he made as a referee. The excitement in the recount, the glow of a win, or the shadow of a loss.

What this love of basketball has really brought to my tween is a growing sense of who he is.

He spends many Saturday afternoons and early evenings hanging out with older kids (teenagers) at the courts between his refereeing games.

At first I was wary of what this meant but soon realised that these boys and girls are awesome; funny cool dudes that don’t fit the stereotype. They are great at being themselves and have unknowingly shown the tween that too.

And the vocab is a world to behold!

Who knew the poly-clad group would be our saviour?

All love

JPH_Mar2014_smiling

Jessica

7 October 2014

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Taking off – week 56

We are in Hanoi, having taken off for the spring break holidays to Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore.

The tween – having just turned 12 has flourished in our ever-changing daily environ. English by birth and a well travelled explorer he loves testing new food, catching the smells of the laneways and trying his luck (and bargaining skills) at the markets.

Whilst I am an a adamant “made locally and sustainable” shopper, I have to accept that the tween is working his way around a world that is not always congruent with his mothers’ purpose. He does well to balance the “cha cha” from the markets and paying a respectful price to the stallholders.

Hong Kong has found the tween smiling deeply at his new found centre of attention with mainland Chinese tourists loving his red hair and brown eye combination. Unusual in Australia, it is positively freakish in China. I’m thinking there will be many a family slide-show featuring the tween in his Rutgers t-shirt and Nike freeruns! It’s a small price for the kindness and happiness of others.

With this relaxed and uncomplicated mode, I have found the tween holding my hand (in public) and being affectionate.

Perhaps the release of being away from his “coolness” of the basketball court and the school playground has allowed this freedom of emotion to happen. It’s the change in environment that has brought out these wonderful secure traits and the connection with family that brings in the closeness.

Week one into the family trip has been awesome!

All love

JPH_Mar2014_smiling

Jessica

22 September 2014

Comments are always welcome. Please be mindful however that words can 
enlighten or dishearten.
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Turning around – week 55

It’s been such a joyful and funny week.

With husband away the pattern of the week has taken a different tune and the tween has relished the rejigging of roles.

We’ve had the luxury of spending time alone in the car between school drop-offs (with a change in my workplace, I am now taking the tween to school most mornings). This car time has become an invaluable nub of words. Some mornings has seen the tween spill with laughter at the antics of the school yard or floods of tears over some wrongdoing in the classroom.

Who knew traffic clogged streets would provide the creative line for mother – tween conversations! I now look out for other cars with kids – especially the older ones sitting in the front seat… I wonder what words are said; what heart felt story is being spilled or recounted.

The week has culminated in a birthday party for the tween. Whilst he will turn 12 next Friday, he choose today to spend the afternoon with some friends from school – girls and boys.

Trusting them, they took themselves off to lunch and a movie for a few hours. Giving the tween this freedom is as important to me as it is to him. I wasn’t disappointed! The party arrived home laughing and telling stories of popcorn throwing in the cinema and general 11 year old behaviour.

Whilst I don’t want to be the person to clean up the movie theatre, I do think that their fun shows the innocence and charm of my childhood.

And I think that makes it ok! Our house is at peace.

All love

JPH_Mar2014_smiling

Jessica 7 September 2014

Comments are always welcome. Please be mindful however that words can 
enlighten or dishearten.
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September spring – week 54

I’ve been reading up on tweens this week and what I am learning is there is so much “advice” about hiding, spying and generally looking from behind bushes at what our tweens might be doing. Be it time on the internet (put in locks, passwords, firewalls), or hanging out on the way home from school (network of parents who sms tween sightings). Even worse is the prescriptive parenting guide (do 1,2,3 to be your tweens best friend)!

Me? There’s no prescription in our house. As the parent of a tween, I relish in the haphazardness of our craziness – of finding our pathway through the sometime blinding fog to glorious sunshine. We work off trust (that is often broken), independence (that can be disappointing) or love (that never wavers).

This week I have watched my son push and stretch his way through the days. I have taken delight in his confidence some days and then felt heart-aching pain at his down self-talk. Of the nights when he yells and screams at me and then wants to hug his way back into my uterus…

The fluctuating emotions are difficult to handle. The ups and downs seem so unpredictable – walking in the door may open a delicious end of the day conversation or a thunderstorm of gloom.

But this is our journey of love, hope, laughter and a few hidden tears from me. It is a journey of survival and stories of the future.

All love

JPH_Mar2014_smiling

Jessica

1 September 2014

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It’s August – week 53

It began over a year ago, although the exact moment is hard to pinpoint. There were the looks, the anger, the sudden tears. 

I was taken by surprise. Who or what is this person? How did our little boy become this pin cushion of prickles?

A year later, I am no better off understanding what is happening to our son. All I know is that from 9 – 13 there is this new phase, something that didn’t exist in the 1980’s. 

Known as the tweens, its the growing phase from child to teenager. It is hard for parents to understand and I can only imagine how hard it is for our children.

This is my story, my pathway and adventure, about my son and his journey that at times appears to take us down.

Each week I plan to learn and write about what worked and what failed – and perhaps this just might provide other parents with some hope and light in a dark tunnel that is not a train coming towards them but their amazing incredible children returning.

All love

JPH_Mar2014_smiling

Jessica 

August 2014

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can enlighten or dishearten.