Precious little angel
Take a look at what you’ve done
Well I thought my time was over
But it’s only just begun
Precious little angel
You’re my own sweet turtle dove
Won’t you stay with us for ever
In a bundle full of love
– Annie Lennox – (Precious)

This week my eldest son turns 23 years old. I’m not really sure how it happened exactly, that 23 years of his life (and mine) have flown by in a heartbeat. Or that’s how it seems sometimes. Time really does fly when you’re having fun and I have to say that being his mum has been a roller coaster of amazement, heart stopping moments, worry and joy all rolled into one.

I was so young when I had my (not so) little man. At 21, I already felt like I’d lived a life that was more intense than some. I married his dad, my childhood sweetheart, The Leo, at the tender age of 18 and it just seemed like all was right in the world when I found out I was pregnant right before my 21st Birthday. I didn’t time that very well!

When I fell pregnant with my son it was like a calmness descended on my flighty, whirlwind ways. I just felt like I suddenly had a purpose. The Leo was pleased, but he was young and freaking out. The reality was that he continued to do what boys do. He went out with his mates, and drank too much and went to clubs, while I stayed at home more and more. He felt protective of his offspring when we went out to pubs and would get annoyed quickly if anyone got too close to my growing bump. I quite enjoyed having close girlfriends over watching movies while he went out.
I was so healthy throughout the pregnancy.

Prior to the pregnancy I wasn’t eating well and sometimes not at all. I’d struggled with weight issues that were of course linked to my poor self -image. Another down side to youth is not realising how amazing you are when you are young! Damn it.

My amazing friend Adilita, who was young and hot and single, hung out with me a lot, which is a testament to the person she is. I spent more time with her than I did with my husband which was telling. She is the God-mother of my son and has always been a brilliant influence in his life. I’m forever grateful for having her in our lives.

While the pregnancy was a dream run, the birth wasn’t. In fact anything that could go wrong did. After 12 hours of labour, I had an emergency caesarean. That’s not really how I imagined things would go but the reality was that I almost lost my life, and his. My heart stopped. Literally. I’m grateful to say we both lived to tell the tale.

My flat stomach which I’d always taken for granted was no more, destroyed by a scar that goes from hip to hip. In time scars fade, but my stomach will never recover, save for surgery. Still, it’s symbolic of life given instead of lost.

Meeting the Producer highlighted a dormant insecurity about that.
I had two more children with the Taurus and he raised our first son as his own. He touched my war-weary stomach often and it never fazed me that he saw my naked imperfection. In writing this, I’ve just realised that I am more guarded of my obvious imperfections now. I guess because they were shared scars with the Taurus – we went through pregnancies together. In the singledom that followed I took umbrage with my tummy – not my most attractive feature! I’ve become more adept at hiding it since meeting the new man.

When I held my child for the first time it was like the air was sucked from my lungs. I cried tears of happiness. (Okay in truth, that’s the second time I held him – the first time I was still drugged up and thought he was an actual cherub, resplendent with wings!). He locked his dark blue eyes onto mine and my heart almost exploded out of my chest. For the first time in my life, I felt like I’d created something perfect. I always knew deep down he would be mine – like he’d chosen me and that he and I would have quite an adventure together.

When I left the Leo and my child-bride-marriage at 23 years old, I popped my son on my hip and moved to a place in the inner city. We took walks to the beach collecting shells, and he had baby chinos and read Dr. Suess while I sipped coffee and read the papers.

The Taurus has raised my son as his own since he was 2 years old. My relationship and my bond with my boy was so strong that the Taurus asked my child for my hand in marriage. He was barely five then. Not that he didn’t have a relationship with the Leo also, but the roles were different. It was like having a dad and a father I guess. The Leo was very much like a mate to him, and still is to this day.

As I look at my boy now, his silky pale skin adorned with tattoos and his green eyes flashing, I like to think I’ve done a good job of raising him (not the tattoo part though I respect it’s his body). I can’t take all the credit for his greatness of course. He had a great father figure in The Taurus, a great family and a group of my amazing friends. I like to say that he was raised by a group of women and to that end, he’s respectful of women to this day.

Like his mum, he’s cheeky with a fierce love of music. He’s incredibly loyal to his siblings and his friends, and he dotes on his girlfriend. He’s beautifully young. He’s opinionated and argumentative and unlike me he can be quite bull headed, as is the way with a lot of youth – in the years when you can’t see beyond the here and now. He’s hugely compassionate to animals and to those he perceives to be the underdog and he has a strong work ethic, though he’s given to arrogance and he can be a bit of a lad.

As a child he acted and loved the theatre, but in his early teens he discovered the guitar and a rocker was born. We bought him an awesome electric guitar when he turned 16 which he still has, along with several acoustics guitars. His life became all about the music and he played with mates, jammed and played live gigs to earn cash.

I never grew tired of hearing him play to be honest and even now when he comes home he picks up the acoustic guitar instinctively and strums. I love that. The sound of it in the house is beautiful.

I worry that he sometimes seems directionless, and I think of myself at that age and realise I cannot make such comparisons. His life is his to lead and as a parent, I will always worry about him of course, but I also believe that he will make his way successfully in the world, being surrounded by people that love him.

He’s been deeply impacted by the end of my marriage. Given there is no biological ties to this dad, I think he sometimes feels displaced. Given he is older than the other two, there is no regular visitation, but there is no denying his love for the Taurus.

Although he recently moved in with his girlfriend, my boy and I speak a couple of times a week and text each other. The Producer and I just last night had a birthday dinner with him and his girlfriend. I’m share a great bond still and I’ve had to learn to let go a little and trust that he can make his own way in the world. He knows that I will always be here for him if he needs me, and even if he doesn’t. I think it helps that I was younger – there is only 21 years between us after all. He often says growing up with young parents was a good thing.

I listen to the awesome tales of the Producer, talking about his life when he was in his 20’s, and think of my own youth, and I hope my son stays young for as long as he can, living his life like every day is an adventure to be had.

These are his glory days of discovering everything in life – of optimistic hope and a sense of fearless abandon, where anything is possible and memories are made. Where hearts are full of love and are sometimes broken, mistakes are made and lessons are learnt. When lifelong friendships are forged and ideas formed.

I hold barely any photographic evidence of my childhood, so I have of course taken a mountain of photos of my kids as they’ve grown up – much to grumbling of Mr 23. One day he’ll thank me. Well, that’s my hope. If he doesn’t, that’s okay too. He will though look back I’m sure with fondness at the memories he shared with friends and family and realise that life – in the hard time and the good times – is most definitely for living.

So today, I’m patting myself on the back for having guided him this far. I always feel blessed that he chose me to be him mum, and that we’ve grown up together. I’ve learnt so much about myself through being a parent. My capacity to love unconditionally is enormous. My patience is greater than I ever realised, my time management and organisational skills are awesome and my energy levels come from having gorgeous ones whose needs are my priority.

What I’m also grateful for is the few regrets I have in my life. Sure, I could have been smarter, I could have been shrewder and I could have protected myself more and trusted less…coulda, woulda, shoulda. I’m glad I just lived in my crazy optimistic way! In the end, I had love in my life, great friends, some amazing memories, great kids and a path that has led me to a brand new chapter with the Producer. That’s some good fate there!

I wouldn’t say having children so young is right for everyone, but for me, a great decision. I have never regretted one single moment of it. He brought me back to myself, gave my life a beautiful purpose, taught me wonderful things about the world and myself and I found my inner Demeter Goddess. I was meant to be this kid’s mother. Of that I have no doubt.

My boy was wrapped in love every day of his life, educated and supported. Sure, I made mistakes – don’t we all, but I’m so proud to call him mine. Though we share great infinity he is his own person and I can only look on in wonder that I played a part in creating this man.

Rock on, kiddo. Enjoy the ride!