Ok….so I don’t have any children. Not yet anyway. But I plan on having a couple someday and there are a few vital life lessons I want to teach them. For all of you who are parents reading this, you’ll probably shake your head and say…that girl should never reproduce. Well you could be right, but remember, you have the wisdom of hindsight.
1. Roller Skates Get Brothers Into Trouble
I was once lucky enough to receive a pair of white roller skates with hot pink wheels. I thought they were the bomb diggity. But the very first time I wore them I had a massive, calamitous fall and not only grazed my knee severely but also scraped my roller skates. Not even a day old and they were ruined.
Subsequently, bad things would happen when I wore them. Once skating around and my Nanna’s house, my younger brother was poking around in the bushes and found a big, wild rat. Not content to leave it alone, it bit him on the hand in the soft fleshy part between your thumb and forefinger. And it didn’t let go. So there was my bro, screaming madly and turning around in a circle trying to shake the rat loose. I was on my roller skates and was flailing around wildly not sure what to do. I had to skate away to find my Nanna. By the time I got to her, the rat was gone and my brother had to go to hospital for a tetanus shot.
Another time, I was happily skating around at home while the same brother was playing around with an ant’s nest and petrol. All of a sudden a big fireball went up and the flames were making a bee-line for my brother holding a petrol can. I had to skate around the front of the house were my parents were to raise the alarm…have you ever tried skating on grass? It doesn’t work so well.
My skates have retired to a box marked – Troublesome Roller Skates (do not wear).
2. Getting Hurt Builds Character
Ok so I’m not advocating you let your kids deliberately get hurt. But hopefully I’ll be able to let my kids be adventurous without fear. Fear is such a disabler.
At a very young age we were encouraged to learn how to ride motorbikes, build tree-houses, drive an old beat up mini-moke around the property, water ski, play in the dirt and generally let our imaginations run wild. My brothers once built a homemade skate ramp out of old tin (yes, obligatory eye roll for the danger which lies ahead). It was an accident waiting to happen with its dodgy engineering and razor-sharp edges. I was the one who ran up it, slipped and put a rather large gash in my thigh. I still have the scar to prove it.
My older brother also dislocated both my shoulders whilst trying to show me some karate moves. But that’s a whole other story. (Thanks Karate Kid movies, thanks a lot).
3. Working Hard Isn’t Always About the Money
My parents worked incredibly hard to turn 5 acres of dirt into a wonderful family home. For over 20 years they landscaped the gardens and turned it into a beautiful place full of serenity. A lot of my childhood was spent helping them. We’d pick up rocks (oh the rocks) to make long rambling rock walls. We’d help make garden beds, trim trees, wheel dirt from here to there. At the time I didn’t see the sense in it but when they sold it only 5 years ago, they left behind not just a house but a magic place full of wonderful memories….and thousands of rocks.
We never got paid pocket-money to do that work. We were doing it to contribute to our family environment. Subsequently, I’m leaving some backbreaking work for my kids to do when they eventually come along. I see….in-ground swimming pool – dug by hand. (Encino Man anyone?)
4. No-one Likes a Dry Spring Roll
My parents were dinner party royalty. I have fantastic memories of them hosting glamorous dinner parties in typical 80’s flamboyance. Particularly seafood Mornay served in half seashells. Ooh la la! But they encouraged experimentation in the kitchen and loved to get us involved.
One of my earliest kitchen memories is of me standing on a chair to reach the large wooden chopping block. Me up one end and my mother up the other. It was spring roll making time! Mum would get the spring roll mix together and I would be in charge of keeping those spring roll wrappers moist! It was important job which involved a tea towel and a water spray bottle. Mum and I were a well oiled spring-roll-making-machine! A double act which continued throughout the years.
I contribute my love of cooking and dinner parties to them. Something I will hopefully pass on to my kids.
5. Flat Tyres Are the Least of Your Problems
When I was 17 and got my provisional licence I convinced my parents to let me take my girlfriends on a road trip to the coast. They were hesitant but finally agreed. I asked my father to show me how to change a flat tyre if I got one on the trip. I memorised that procedure like a madwoman.
Thankfully the road trip produced no flat tyres. It did however, wield a broken starter motor. Which basically meant that turning the key would not start the engine. The entire trip home was spent push-starting the car to get it going. I had to put the car into second gear, hold down the clutch and get my girlfriends to push the car fast enough to let the clutch out which would hopefully bring the engine to life. A complete embarrassment for a bunch of 17-year-old girls. But you know how I knew how to do that? My formative years of being allowed to drive an old beat up car around our property, that’s how.
Yes yes, I know not everyone can learn to drive at age 10…but what I’m saying is, the more I can hopefully expose my children to, the better equipped I hope they are to take on the unexpected challenges that life throws at them.
So, big words coming from a childless woman right? Check back in on me in a few years….we’ll see how my life lessons are panning out. Viva la roller skates!!!