The Tweens have left the building – week 72

This is it. Today Number Two Tween turned 13. It’s a milestone, a leap and a jump from a pocket of power to a pot of gold. The usual birthday ritual of lining up for a measure shows inches have stretched from toes to head.

With this growth comes short trousers, bigger shoes and a reckoning of the world that knows no boundaries.

The house is now fully complete in its testosterone filled shell. With two teenagers to bring a new strength into the conversations, convictions and sometimes a battleground.

The mother in me has been repositioned into the friendly antics of the “Unicorn mom“; if you don’t know her, then she’s the friend you need to keep life real – kids, career, marriage.

I’m Her and have been for quite a while.

I love my children without boundaries but this doesn’t mean I blindly look at some of the $%^& that comes out of their mouths and wonder what or how this is happening.

I’m the mom that happily pays for Uber eats so I don’t have to think of nutrition and a balanced meal every single day.

I’m the friend who tells it straight. Yep, our careers aren’t amazing, however, we’re having so much fun at work, our husbands/partners are fallible and so are we. The world is more important than loo paper on the roll and toothpaste in the sink.

And that’s what Tweens Between has taught me. There are no rules and roads to follow. The playground is often full of “judgy” people but that’s their issue, not mine. That my friends love me regardless of the trouble I cause and weird cakes I bake.

Thank you to Tween One and Two, and thank you to all the people who have followed me on this journey, commented with love and held back from the hurtfulness.

Happy 13th – may your first teenage year be blessed.

All love

Jessica xxii

Jessica Purbrick-Herbst
June 2018

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A Wondrous Adventure – week 71

We’ve just returned from India.

Two boys and one mama on tour. It made a great Instagram hashtag.

The teenager and the tween were excited about this adventure. Tween Two had been before, a couple of years ago we ventured to the northern desert region . An easy first step.

This trip we hit up Mumbai, Varanasi and Kolkata.

Arriving to the chaos feels like home to me. This is my tenth trip to India some have been long and languid over many months and others have been quickies to enrich my soul during difficult times.

The boys have been lucky. They have travelled well over their short lives; births in London and New York, travelling Europe by car and train, and drop in holidays to Asia has given them an understanding of their place in the world and importantly how much we have compared to the have nots.

Arriving to the faecal smells of India hit the senses at 7am in the morning. The crammed taxi, the gridlock traffic. We bustle into the hotel for brief relief before we’re off again on the local trains to taste the food on the beach, the laneways and roadside.

We cycle early in the morning as Mumbai awakens to her daily routines. We gather the smells of the pavement dwellers and the cleanliness and order of the slums.

Flying into Varanasi gives us a new smell. The smell of burning wood for warmth and the offering of the family to the Ganga god underpins the taste of everything in this small rural location. The Ghats are busy with offerings amongst the closeness of the smog and pollution. It’s not how I remember it  long summer evenings sitting and thinking, a quiet calmness. That was in the 1990’s  Varanasi like me has grown up.

We check out a day early as we yearn the bustle of a city again. Kolkata doesn’t disappoint.

We walk the roads to Mother House to be part of the movement of volunteers. We spend time with the round milky babies and the wobbly children. We tickle, we laugh.

Early the next morning the boys drag tired bodies from the warmth of blankets to experience mass at Mother House, a volunteer breakfast of cha, bananas and bread before heading off on the local rocking bus to work in the one of the children’s homes.

The delight of the teenager and the tween as they spend time with young people who haven’t had the kick start to life is refreshing. They do laundry, play, teach, read and feed before tucking up into large cots for rest time.

Our metro ride back to the hotel is full of funny stories and laughter. The lightness of their world is wonderful.

We eat, we explore, we taste. The food has flavour, the conversations are rich and we discover new enchantments with each twist and turn.

My early morning solo run on our final day provides delights to the locals and some peace for me. I run to Mother House to listen to the singing. The doors are closed but the sweet voice of women, young and old, emerges above the traffic and the horns and floats down to me.

It’s this peace amongst the chaos that makes two boys and one mama on tour such a unique and wondrous adventure.

All love

Jessica Purbrick-Herbst
January 2018

 

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Cracking the code – week 70

Mothers are wrong.

The look, the vibe, the hostility some days flaw me. How can the charming, delightful, funny, joyous 14 year old turn from this to a cutting, disdainful teenager in just a matter of moments? It makes no sense and honestly, I don’t really want to understand why.

“Everyone” tells me this is “just teenagers” and that “it’s ok, they come out the other end”, yet I don’t accept this behaviour as okay. It’s not and never will be something that is “just teenagers”.

There are some days when the interaction from 6.30am until the busting out the door an hour later is so cutting and mind chillingly dreadful, I find myself stopping on the way to work for coffee to pull myself out of this head space and into the reality of an adult world.

Do the teenagers treat their teachers this way?

Apparently not as term after term I receive glowing reports of this amazing young man who has maturity and delight that grabs his teachers hearts and souls.

Perhaps Teenager 1 uses up all his good bits at school and the safety of home opens a flaying child who is exhausted by this best public behaviour. Or could it be that home is so safe Teenager 1 has the luxury of pushing all possible emotional boundaries to test the love of a strong family bond?

I know it won’t break but will I?

The rational of adulthood seeks to crack the code of the teenager however just maybe it’s me that needs to wait out this time.

All love

Jessica Purbrick-Herbst
July 2017

 

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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 

One month in – week 62

It’s been a month of new adventures. Tween One has hit his new school with a blast of smiles, kindness and reaching out to new friends. And the tweens that have walked through our front door have been wonderful young boys on the cusp of a teenage life.

Back in the school yard, Tween Two has been dealing with a new enemy. Faced with a burgeoning passion and empathy for Australia’s growing population of refugees and asylum seekers – in particular the number of children now caught up in the detention system – Tween Two is struggling to fathom his life of freedom and those in Australia who are barred from entry.

It’s a tough gig to sell a nine year old who is articulate, well read and up on the nuances of government policy. His progressive school is fostering his desire to ask questions and importantly act. But how to act in this case is very tough indeed.

As a parent, I aim to harness the desire to seek justice for those that can’t (or unable), and I’m proud of the stance that Tween Two is taking. It does however poise some interesting antics in the playground with the wild and varied stance taken by children and adults (this is a passionate issue for many people in Australia).

How does Tween Two seek to understand that some people think its ok to put children behind bars?

This is one issue that Andrew Fuller’s Tricky Teens can’t help me with. Can you?

Warmly

in the library

 

 

 

Jessica

12 February 2015

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