personal, teenage son
Comments 35

Teenage Tuesday: ‘My son just turned 19. Guess what I did when I turned 19?’


Happy Birthday gorgeous son #Australia #nature #grateful

He was born at home on the back verandah as planned, after a long, slow labor. I’d paced up and down the driveway for 2 days, wrapped in a quilt, asking the night sky to bring me my baby.

And finally, with dawn’s 5am light, he came.

Every year when he was little, we seemed to wake up around that time, and lie there together contemplating the celebration of it.

This year I was working almost 2000kms away, but still opened my eyes at exactly 5am; I admit I shed a few tears as I reflected on the passing of so much time, as he’s grown into such a tall, capable young man.

For his birthday, I’d bought him 3 tickets to an 80s/90s dress up disco dance party, the same as last year (a winning gift). I knew he’d have had a late night, but texted anyway:

“5am- Happy Birthday Moment, darling boy.”


Happy Birthday gorgeous son #Australia #sunrise #nature #grateful

No reply, as expected. But I took myself for a sunrise beach walk, revelling in the gorgeous environment, and the knowledge that he was safe, happy, and healthy for another year, which is all any parent ever wants, right?

19 hey. One year into being old enough to vote, to drink (not in the US), and of course go to war.

Have you heard of the group Redgum? Yes, it’s a type of tree, but also a classic Aussie folk/rock band from the 80s, whose song about the Vietnam war “I was only 19” has basically haunted me since I first heard it, decades ago- it’s in the Top 30 Best Australian Songs Ever- I defy anyone to listen to that song without getting teary.

And now my son is that age. He could have been conscripted. He could have killed/been killed.



Happy Birthday gorgeous son #Australia #sunrise #nature #grateful

So I walked on the beach, flooded by the sky, and gave thanks after thanks that my darling baby was not a soldier, or a refugee, or any other struggling young man anywhere in the world.


It’s mostly just luck isn’t it? 



At about 11am, he finally texted back:

Haha, thanks Mum. I went to bed at 5am 😉

I grinned and sighed to myself.

What did I do when I turned 19? Emigrated to Australia, and didn’t see my Mum again for 4 years, in the days before Skype or FaceTime. I used to write her once a month or so, if she was lucky…

He’s NOT ALLOWED to do that to me.

And I know he won’t.

What about you: what’s the longest time you didn’t see your Mum, and why? 

Happy Birthday beautiful ’19’; may you never know war, may you never know hunger or homelessness, and may you ALWAYS keep in contact with your mother!

In gratitude for dawns & birthday babies, G xO 



  1. First happy birthday to your son! My mom and I didn’t speak for a year because she pissed me off when she was passive aggressive about a choice I made (which was that I didn’t want to spend Christmas Eve and day at her house because my daughter was 8 and longed to spend Christmas Day at home with her toys) and I got fed up with her trying to dictate my adult decisions

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish for the same things with my beloved boys. Mine is almost 18. When I was 19 I’d moved out of home, got my first (dream) job and travelled to the UK for a one-year working holiday. Things are different now and though my boy has entered the workforce, I am not ready for him to leave home yet!!! Congratulations on raising such a lovely young person – what every mother wants.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. zlotybaby says

    Happy bday to your son! It sounds like he had a blast.
    I left my country at 23, came back after a year because I had to renew my visa there, then didn’t go back for 5 years. Now again going on 3 years of not coming back. All I can say is that people who leave and rarely (or never) come back have their reasons 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • He did indeed, and thank you for your well wishes.

      You are so right re the not coming back reasons: I ended up not seeing Mum for 8 years at one point, just cos it seemed like such a hassle… thank you for commenting 🙏🏼

      Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby says

        🙂 I wish more people assumed that you may have reasons as opposed to you’re just being a horrible person for not visiting. My parents didn’t come to my wedding and people grilled me then and there about it. Why would you do that?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. 19 eh? 😀 … I can’t remember what I was up to at that age, probably no good, 🙂 but I do indeed remember that song.
    Last time I saw my mother? Some time in the late 80’s … so long ago now that it ceases to have meaning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • An incredible song, even by Australian rock standards (not my usual fav genre); I thought you’d remember it.

      Thank you for sharing about your mother- what a relief there’s no meaning to it- I appreciate all our differences and herstories 🙏🏼

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I sometimes feel really guilty that I don’t talk to my mom more. We live two hours apart and usually see each other at least once a month or so, but I don’t go out of my way to call and chat about what’s going on in our lives very often. For a lot of reasons. One is that she’s an extrovert and I’m an introvert, so there’s a lot of stuff we can’t relate on. One is that she’s an engineer and a Republican, and I’m a creative writing queer with a trans dude husband-in-21-days. One is that she’s not as emotionally demonstrative as would be comforting sometimes… like when I’m crying and telling her I need help paying for some dental thing I can’t afford because my jaw keeps popping and that’s a really scary feeling, and she’s right there with the financial assistance but not so much with a hug and an “it’s going to be okay baby.” One is that she’s always busy with work and church choir and handbell choirs and gardening, so it’s hard to catch her at a good time. And a BIG one is that my parents are still helping me out with money, and every conversation comes with advance dread of being grilled about what I’m spending, how I’m spending it, whether or not they find that disappointing, how is my credit card balance doing, when will I be able to support myself — all fair questions, but hard to answer because… I want to be able to support myself, of course, and I’m working towards that, but I have no idea when I’ll actually get there.

    It’s weird, too… she was 26 when she had me, and I’m 31 now, and I can’t imagine being responsible for a child. I’ve heard that no one ever feels completely ready to have kids, you just sort of jump into the deep end (which I was never good at, lol) and hope not to drown. We’ve been talking more often in the last year because wedding planning (it’s going to be lovely but my god planning is a nightmare), maybe that will continue once I’m married.


  6. zlotybaby says

    Also, I’ve been wondering for a while now whether you’d like to write a guest post for our blog? Both #englishrosiee and I think you’re super smart and have a lot of insight into dating, love and relationships and we’d love to have some of you there. I know you’re very busy so no pressure but I thought it’s worth asking 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. thetotalfemme says

    Ah, sheesh, those babies who grow up! It really is all about luck, but the love never, never stops. Happy 19th year, Mama!! xottf

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 21 years of not talking to my Mum, not through choice but her death. It’s a long time to go without hearing her soft Yorkshire accent, I’ve no recordings of her or my Dad. Oh how I wish I had thought to record them.

    take care

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s