It was a big day for my husband. He started work at 9am and came home after 11pm. He produces the nightly news at one of the TV stations here in Sydney and it was the first night with new graphics and a new set. He was happy with how the day went, but was tired now. He opens the tub of ice cream and we eat it in our living room over small talk.
Close to midnight he turns on our computer to check the family emails. Suddenly my husband rushes to our son’s bedroom.
“He just got into senior strings,” he mutters as he zooms past.
Before I can stop him, he wakes our son and tells him the news. Our son sleepily fist pumps the air. He is tired, but I can tell our boy is extraordinarily pleased he passed his audition.
His father looks at me and smiles.
It’s midnight and my two favourite men are grinning through their tiredness. I don’t know why, but this moment makes me stupidly happy.
“You look proud,” I state the obvious.
“Yeah. I am,” my husband responds.
A love of music is something my husband and son share. I am always amazed they enjoy playing their instruments. I studied the piano when I was younger, but I had dreams of burning the blasted thing instead of mastering it.
While our son has been practising, my husband has been looking on and encouraging him to work just that little bit harder, offering him advice along the way. It’s been a team effort.
I don’t know how or when this happened, but our son’s little victories have become our victories. His concerns, our concerns. The only child to rather sappy parents, I’m sure there are times when we are unbelievably embarrassing. But he copes. Poor kid.
He is in his final year of primary school and I am a little stunned at the swift passing of time. It only seems like yesterday when he started Kindergarten. He smiled at us from the school gate in his oversized uniform and a back pack that was almost as tall as him. With a quick wave he was off. Out of our care into a slightly bigger, less protected, world.
I am sure there will come a time when our help will no longer be wanted or needed. But I hope he breaks us in gently as he seeks his independence.
“Mum, it’s my life. I’ve got to live it. You’ve got to let me make my own decisions. You can help, but I need to make my own choices,” he told me once. He was ten years old.
We spend so much time looking after our children, worrying after them, ready to swoop in to fight their battles. It’s terrifying to let go and allow them to deal with life their own way. But like it or not, one day our son will walk out the door, give us a quick wave and disappear into that big wide world.
Until then, I am going to appreciate the fact that I can still yell at him to study and that he allows his father to help him with his music practise.