We’re coming to the end of two weeks of school holidays. This morning they were entertained at three floors of indoor climbing and adventure fun – but were they happy? Last night it was the British Club, with a water park, playground, little kids room, big kids room, etc, etc, etc, – but were they happy? We’ve never lived in a house with a backyard, and because our boys are not indoor kids, they are taken out for adventures twice a day. During this time we are completely focused on them enjoying themselves, but I tell ya, you wouldn’t know they are the centre of our world. So when we have days like the last couple with our lads, I wonder why we bother.
I mean, in my day, we were thrown in the backyard, with no hats or sun block, and screamed at to come in for lunch, or it was dispatched out to us. We weren’t supervised, we did what the hell we wanted, and somehow we survived childhood, considering how much time we spent on the roof, up trees and in the pool. Although all of us have pretty severe sunburn scars as proof of this. I’ve never worn a backless dress.
Our car is also an outstanding memory. We had a Datsun wagon for sometime there, and it consisted of two seats in front and a wagon in the back, with a fabric cover. In the winter it was bloody freezing, in the summer a sweat box with no windows to open (except the rear flap and the exhaust was delightful!) and the best bit? There were no chairs – just some corrugated metal for us to sit on. A treat was driving 300kms or so down to Melbourne or Geelong, ‘cos then we had a blow up mattress put in, until one day our Great Aunt Bel felt sorry for us and gave us a cushion – but it only fit three of us. When we fought for the front seat, we had really good reasons for wanting it. Mark, the youngest of us, usually lost out.
But we were beautiful. The Edwards family would turn up in our Datsun ute for Wodonga Citizen Brass Band rehearsals, with four kids piling out the back, along with two tubas, a euphonium and a couple of cornets – maybe even a triangle if mum was still participating. You could see and hear us for miles around. Volume was always the order of the day in our household.
So here I am trying to give my kids something completely different – not because my childhood was bad (I actually loved it because I was free and we did lots of great stuff) but because I want them to have a more global childhood. I think that would be a cool thing to give them. My boys are freer than most kids, they rarely get “stopped” from doing something unless it’s going to kill them, the day is focused on their happiness in the world, their diet is designed to help them be all they can be, they are never without water, nice clothes, and I could go on, but sometimes it just feels like we can never do enough.
I attended a Deepak Chopra course on leadership a couple of years ago and I asked him why kids in “my” world are always cracking the shits and demanding more, when poor street kids, like you see in India, rarely make a fuss. And you know why? When a kid is starving, they are focused on getting food in their belly. When they are full and never know what it’s like to go without, they are like our kids.
I’d rather have my kids never knowing what it’s like to be without to the point they don’t fight for more “stuff,” but sometimes, I just wish they’d shut the hell up with all their moaning and appreciate how good they’ve got it. I just hope one day they say thanks Mum and Dad – we had a great childhood. The next chapter will be about nagging, which has commenced full force…
Naturally, it goes without saying that I was an absolute angel when I was a child…
Yours, without the bollocks