personal, teenage son
Comments 24

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

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