It's birthday season at Holt Press. May 29 is my son Zach, aka The Heir's, and one of my best mates, Birchy, aka The Full Quiver's, birthday.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to speak to either of them to wish them well, for different reasons. I left it too late to ring Birchy, it was around tea time and with 5 kids to manage through the feeding/bathing/putting to bed routine it's no surprise that they weren't answering the phone.
I left a message but as he is a fairly regular reader of my blog, let me say it publicly, Happy Birthday Birchy, you're a great mate.
The Heir has been living in England for about the last 18 months so seeing him was not an option and my attempts to ring him failed for various reasons. Seems he has a friend visiting from Australia so has moved out for a couple of days so they can spend time together. On the plus side I did get to speak to Barabara who along with her family have been "pseudo parents" and have looked after our son for us. I tried his mobile but got a message saying the phone wasn't in service. I believe it is but suspect that the whole international dialling thing was a little too much for it's circuitry to handle. I tried to get him on Skype but no joy there either.
So, son, not for lack of trying, this is your official Happy Birthday Call-Out.
He has expressed a few misgivings about turning 20 and the expectations that come with such an age. I know exactly how he feels because I had the same thoughts and feelings when I turned 20, and 30, and 40 and ... There's something about 20 that signifies a change, the end of the teens, the end of justifying your irresponsible behaviour on the basis that you're a teenager and don't know any better/haven't matured yet/lack self control/are invincible, omniscient and never wrong! I'll never forget the day The Heir was born, it was the most amazing and miraculous experience of my life. Almost instantly I felt a "weight" settle on me, of responsibility. Here was a helpless little baby totally dependent on us for everything, for survival and life. It was the start of a new chapter of my life that continues to be written to this day. He is 20 and living on the other side of the world but there is still a strong sense of care and concern and hope for him; that his life will be happy and healthy and holy. I used to hold him by his legs and hang him upside down as we walked around and he seemed to love it, never crying or complaining. We went to Victoria for 9 months when he was 1 and had just started walking. We took the Indian Pacific train and not long after we left Perth he lurched and fell in the aisle banging his head on one of the seats and getting a big lump over his eye. The rest of the three day journey was somewhat tense as I tried to prevent him falling over or getting hurt again. That's the thing about being a parent, no matter how much we love them or how hard we try we can't prevent our kids from ever getting hurt. And it's not just when they're toddlers, it continues on, quite probably for the rest of their lives, or ours, whichever comes first.
We spent 6 months at Kilmany Park in Sale studying youthwork with Fusion and now, 20 years on, The Heir has done the same course, now taught at Poatina in Tasmania, and is part of Fusion, who themselves have grown up and spread out across the world.
The Heir, as our first-born, suffered at the hands of our over zealous parenting and copped more smacks than the other three kids put together. He deserved some of them but certainly not as many as he got.
When we lived in Beckenham he slept in a cradle and if he woke up crying would usually go back to sleep if we just rocked the cradle for a little while. The Heir was a devoted big brother to his little sister Sophie, aka Favourite Daughter.
This got me thinking and I set about rigging up a system with string and metal screw-in eyelets strategically positioned along the walls between his bedroom and ours that would enable me to rock his cradle from the comfort of my own bed! It sort of worked! But not really! A couple of good yanks on the string would send enough energy down the string to cause the cradle to jerk unevenly but no smooth rocking motion could be achieved! I'm sure that there were too many angles to negotiate and too much friction to overcome for it to succeed, but I'm equally sure that with some more refinement and a finer engineering brain than mine, the system would have been perfected. Maybe even patented! Who knows, I could have been sitting on a fortune by now if I'd just persevered with my remote control string operated baby rocking system!
Happy Birthday Zac, I love you.
We have been blessed with beautiful children and a friend, Stephen, took many waonderful pictures of them when they were little. Many of these I enlarged and framed and they still grace our walls.
The Heir and Favourite Daughter were very close and played together beautifully when they were little. We've got hours of video of them running around in the backyard, sometimes clothed, sometimes not!
Sadly they went through a less than amicable period in their early to mid teens when FD no longer thought TH was cool and gave him a lot of grief but happily they have gotten past that and get along really well again now. They are talking about travelling together overseas next year.