It is hard to believe that in just another 365 days, I will be the parent of an adult child. I wouldn’t say that I don’t feel like an adult, but I don’t feel like an adult of long enough standing to have grown my own from scratch.

Of course the adult bit is kind of relative, next year she will legally be an adult but for all intensive purposes*, she is one already at 17. She still asks me things all the time but her questions are not (normally) the annoying, unanswerable, existential-rhetorical type stuff that younger children ask and yet still expect you to be able to answer. Her curiosity for information is fun, because we can discuss interesting things like the four pronged nature of an echidna’s penis and then look up pictures of these fascinating things together.

I have spent a lot of time with her over the last couple of years, more than I would have if she hadn’t inherited the clumsy genes and managed to slip over in a tiny shower and set off a health adventure of huge proportions. While I would never be glad that she’s had to deal with all that she has, I am aware that it provided opportunity for developing closeness between us that probably would not have happened otherwise.

She’s changed greatly over the course of this adventure. A certain amount of maturing is of course pretty normal, but I think that she has a maturity and appreciation of certain aspects of life far beyond that of her same-age peers because of how she’s struggled and learned to thrive despite the pain. In trying to help her do this I have also had to reach deeply and share some of the darker parts of myself that I don’t usually like to put on display, so that we could connect and move forward. I think that in some ways she has also seen parts of my struggle that Daniel and my mum don’t always see, the moments when I am home by myself and feeling like everything is so very heavy and I am not strong enough. And it has been beneficial to both of us. I have had more practice than she has at keeping going when things are hard and so she has seen that you can keep going and be happy even with shit circumstances going on. Wanting to continue to set that example for her has in turn given me an extra push on hard days to be the best and do the best that I can when I really would rather lay down and give up.

It turns out that we have a lot of things in common. There’s a lot of overlap in our senses of humour. I do share that with my mother to a degree as well but I think that there are times when she likes a more mature (mature as in less puerile, not as in adult in nature) humour and there’s a lot of the silly stuff that Stephanie and I both appreciate that might not tickle my mum. Like me she takes great amusement in the brand of Australia themed humour and the exaggerated Aussie stereotype of Australian culture: the casual, self- and mate-deprecating person who rides kangaroos and wrangles Drop Bears and says “cunt” a lot.

Sometimes when my mum is telling people about me she gets this look on her face when she is talking about something cool I have done or whatever. And I am a bit embarrassed because what she is describing does not feel like it is on the same level of me as a person. Like.. yes, I’m a nice person and I try to do good things, but I’m not a fucking saint or whatever. But now I kind of understand that look because it is how I feel like I must look when I am thinking or talking about Stephanie and how proud I am that I had something to do with who she is. Not that this means I am not proud of my other children, because I am.. it’s just different. While I think that ideally all people should remain in a “work of progress” type of state, even as adults, it’s different in that at a certain point it becomes more about improvement and refinement of the already established base. Stephanie is a complete person who knows what she likes and what she believes in and I think she’s pretty great. She welcomes my input and my opinions because she wants them, not because she is obligated because I am her parent. (Perhaps I just appreciate this because with the other two it is still often a matter of “ugh, you’re old and uncool and I don’t need your opinion or the benefit of lessons you have learned.”) The cool kid likes me!

I did that on purpose. She likes memes and dislikes when people don’t know how to word properly, so I think she will appreciate this fine humour.


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an email

—– Original Message —–
From: jade leth
To: Daniel Leth
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 8:48 AM
Subject: work

just had to share with you how MY work day has started out.

i got your son to drop off to sleep and thought that this was good, i could have my cup of tea and start tidying up a bit while it was quiet with him asleep and the girls still in bed.

except as soon as i stood up to do something he started wailing as if i’d tried to chuck him in a snake pit or something.
then another wailing started. it was your daughter, at the top of the stairs, demanding i come up there to carry her down. i succinctly told her that it wouldn’t be happening, and that is the point at which she threw her drink bottle down the stairs. after making sure that it was infact just the drink and not herself, i tried to carry on with what i was doing. both of them got angrier and louder. i heard abby taking her nappy off. then stephanie started coming down, since she had been dressing herself. she called me, saying that abigail had made a mess with the nappy.

the dear child had decided it would be a good idea to fling her full, sodden nighttime nappy down the stairs. the nappy obviously did not hold up to such force, as on each stair of the bottom two thirds of the staircase there was a pile of wet gel crystals that had come out of the nappy. so i told her off good and proper and got some paper towel to pick up as much as i could and then got the vacuum to get the rest. except the powerhead didn’t seem to like it and instead of sending it up the tube into the vacuum it spat it out the back so that it came and hit my legs. so i used the raw end of the vacuum tube to vacuum up each of the stairs.

i went to wash my hands once i was finished this and was doing that and abigail asked for some toast. so i put that on and was buttering it when she was talking about getting a new nappy. she said “one for each bum?” i said that she only needed one for her, since i had already changed kristian. she said he’d done a poo but i didn’t really pay much attention because i couldn’t smell anything and he hadn’t grunted or anything.

then he walks past and i see it seeping out the sides of his nappy and already on the back of the nappy where he obviously sat in some that had leaked onto the floor. frick.

so i had to wipe up the floor and then him and of course, fight with him and wrestle him to actually be able to wipe his disgusting little arse, not to mention everything else of his that i had to wipe since the shit was EVERYWHERE. stephanie estimated when i was finished that it had taken about 9 or 10 wipes, and i would concur with that.

so, i hope you have a nice day.

an email