THE SISTERS' SONG coming in January 2018 from Allen and Unwin. Sign up to be the first to know. x Louise

I haven’t done this for a while, so here’s a wee update:

1. Son #1 arrived home yesterday after a twelve-day camp. I know I sound like a soppy mother, but the sight of him in a beanie, sunburnt and unwashed, and smiling at me from the other side of the road ranks right up there in my highlights of the year.

(Other highlights of the year include January, when Daughter #2 returned after six weeks in France, and July, when Daughter #1 returned from Melbourne after not seeing her for four months. I might be wrong, but I’m noticing a theme to my highlights …)

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2. Son #1’s Camp was a long one, involving all 180+ Year Ten boys at his school, and is considered a rite of passage. Over the twelve days, they walked more than 200km, climbed mountains (for Tassie people, Western Australian mountain = hill), kayaked down rivers, planted trees for reforestation, and cooked their own meals.

The meals cooked by my son’s group seem to have been his biggest disappointment of the trip. All I can say is, they must have been really bad because with my cooking, the bar’s pretty low …

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3. Before the boys went, we were asked to write affirmation letters to our sons. It was a secret, and towards the end of the camp, the boys were given their letters and sent off on their own for three hours, to read what their parents had written, and write in their journals.

One of the first things my son said when I picked him up was, ‘Thank you for the letter’.

It was one of the easiest things I’ve ever been asked to write, and it said nothing I hadn’t already told him verbally, but it made me think I should write to my children more often.

4. Good Intention #356: Write affirmation letters to my kids.

5. After arriving home, Son #1’s order of proceedings went: Food-Shower-Food-Computer Games-Food-Xbox-Food-Piano-Food-Bed. Nice to know he hasn’t changed.

6. In another rite of passage, this coming week we have Graduation for Daughter #2. She’s finished exams and school, and it’s hit me that half of our children have left school! I know I should have realised already that I’m no longer a mother of young children, but it still feels as if it’s passed too quickly, and all these end-of-eras are coming around too fast …

7. There’s so much I want to write about Daughter #2, and I will, but that topic really deserves its own post. I want to write about all that I’ve learnt through mothering this child. This daughter is very different to her older sister, and as a parent, I found that surprising and, at times, difficult. I thought I’d done the parenting gig before, and done it quite successfully, so if I did the same things again, it would work out again. But, it didn’t, and she let me know in no uncertain terms—the repaired plaster outside her door is a testament to the number of times it’s been slammed. I was rather devastated as I’d tried really hard to be a good mother, made it my life’s aim, in fact. I wanted to blame her, but deep down, I also knew that, as the adult, it was up to me to fix it. I won’t write anymore about it today, except to say that there was a solution and it was easier than I thought …

8. We attended a Movie Premiere at a friend’s house last weekend. We decked out in penguin suits to watch our kids perform music from the movies. At interval, the bewigged ‘Candy’ interviewed us on the red carpet as we sipped sparkling, then we reconvened for Sculthorpe’s ‘Kakadu’ and the world premiere of a home movie.

I can’t remember the exact title of this world-class film, however the plot had something to do with the evil Svetlana chasing down all packets of Red Rock Deli chips that weren’t Salt and Vinegar. As you can imagine, we were rolling on the floor with laughter on the edge of our seats for this action-packed thriller-on-a-budget, which had been scripted, filmed, and produced within 24-hours.

But the highlight of the evening was the 3-course dinner for thirty that our friend had prepared. We sat at a long table in their garden and ate by candlelight under the stars. It was a really special meal.

Son #2 played ‘Schindler’s List’:

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Then joined ‘Candy’ (aka ‘Helen’) on the red carpet:

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As did we:

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9. Finally, here are my photos. This week, they’re from around our home and neighbourhood:

Two of my favourite subjects, even though they won’t sit still:IMG_2373

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They were so hot, hence the tongues, and I can’t let them off their leads because of the bird life at the Lake—they’d love to chase those ducks. (In fact, Gretel did one day, with our next-door-neighbour’s little girl still holding the lead. She had to let it go, or she would have ended up in the middle of the lake, too. Luckily, the ducks escaped—they can fly and Gretel can’t.)

Our street is lined by old, old gums, and the one on our verge sometimes appears to droop with its age.

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But it has incredibly rich colours:

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And intricate gnarls in its trunk and branches:

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And when it blossoms and the sunlight catches its leaves, it looks young again:

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To finish, some more of the daisies:

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Now, I’ll go and write that blog post about ‘How I Learnt To Be A Better Mother Because Of My More Difficult Child’.

 

'The Sisters' Song' is coming in January 2018.


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