Monday, 19 April 2010

The Maximum Effect

When Max was born, I was lying dead on the beach. My eyes were open and I could see seagulls, but until that moment over eight years ago ... I was dead. He breathed life into me. And love. My love for him had the power to slice open my addiction and blackness. I remember sitting down one night when he was two weeks old, sobbing that one day he would leave me.

I didn't want him to ever leave me.

These days, I'm steadily getting my groove on when it comes to parenting. I have fucked up, spectacularly. I come from a long line of shouters; proudly I can say that I have hardly ever hit Max. But man can I shout. I didn't realise that it was just as bad as hitting, if not worse.

One day, when he was about three, I had yelled at him for something. He is so sensitive, and unlike both of his brothers, can't STAND being in trouble. He sniffled up to me, and his words I will never forget.

"Mum, you broke my feelings."

I held him in my arms for so long, told him I was so so sorry. I thought about how, as a child, my feelings were broken. Not just hurt, broken. And I really didn't want that for him.

Another night, he was being unusually naughty, so I was shouting at him to get into bed. Dave came in, starting HURLING abuse at me, shouting right up in my face. I was so angry and shocked, said what the HELL are you doing?


Completely dysfunctional way to make a point, because by that stage Max was fucking terrified. But I understood.

I hardly yell any more. Except at Rocco. (Joking ... mostly.)

Max is growing tall and strong. He does football, hip-hop class, swimming. He's the most popular, beautiful little guy. He thinks big thoughts, always talks about how he saw me down on earth and chose me to be his mother. And maybe next life he will choose to come back as a frog, because they don't have to go to school.

I have made so many mistakes with him, and will make many more. He still loves me, still wants me to tuck him in bed every night.

I'm obsessed with his hands, they are so slender and handsome and delicate.

For many years, I was intent on making him a younger sibling. Then it happened, and it was a terrible time. A baptism of fire. Max instinctively knew he couldn't wake me up in the middle of the night any more, I was run ragged. He took a back seat, for a while. He learned to read, fluently, when I was too busy to notice.

It was hard enought to meet everyone's basic needs of eating and clothing. I had nothing in me to give.

My Max has been here, the whole time. Quietly, watching everything. The past few days he has been away with Dave, bonding and running on the beach and watching inappropriate films together.

(My husband goes off his nut for me giving Rocco half a vitamin C tablet ... but takes Max to see Kick Ass. Rated MA. WTF?)

He's home now, I can hear the strains of Super Mario Bros on his DS upstairs.

He is my anchor to the world, the prince who kissed sleeping beauty. I get this funny warm feeling in my heart when I lie down next to him, like our spirits are saying hi to each other.

One day he will leave me. And when he does, I want to send him out into the world prepared, able to take care of himself. Solid and grounded and hard working ... not a broken feeling in sight.


  1. Sometimes I wish I could grab your posts and ram them down my throat. Eat up every last bite, I reckon if I was able to, I'd never have to eat another piece of chocolate again. GOLD sister, GOLD!!!!

  2. This is a gorgeous, gorgeous post. I love every word.


  3. Mwah.

    Gorgeous boy. Gorgeous you.

  4. very touching. he seems like an awesome kid and with an awesome mom!

  5. My heart skipped and smiled for this post. It's beautiful.

  6. Beautiful - and precisely the reason why he will never really leave you!

  7. He is such an amazing little man. You are so blessed to have him and he's blessed to have you. What an amazing soul in that child. You do such a beautiful job with you're writing, especially on the subject of Max.

  8. WOW!!! You brought me to tears with this!! Great post!! I hope that if I am ever blessed to be a mama I pray I will remember these words. Thank you!!!

  9. I love this post. I shout. A lot. Two toddlers climbing on tables will do that to you. And I hate myself for it. After I shout, I remember what it was like to be shouted at. Disliked. I will try to be a better mother. We can only hope to be better than our own mothers.

  10. awesome, gut-wrenching post. i admire your honesty so much. i had an abusive mother....(physically/verbally/emotionally).i swore after one particularly brutal beating when i was 8 years old that i would never hit my kids. never. but i shouted. and then one day, when my youngest was about 9ish, i lost it and went in her face with my loud voice and to my horror, she backed away and a look of sheer bloody terror came over her (i will never forget this) and then she fearfully started to cry. it cured me. thank god. thank god for them.

  11. I am so glad you have him, Eden. And I am so glad he has you.

    Those last two photos just take my breath away - beautiful!!

  12. He chose you from to think that I used to say to my mom, "I never asked to be born!" Oooops.

    You are amazing.

  13. i have to admit, i shout. only after the first three times of speaking aren't acknowledged.

    i hope my girls know i love them because damn if i don't squeeze them so tight they can't breath at least 5 times a day.

    i so hope this erases my failure as a mother.

  14. OMG that last pic gave me a heart attack!

    Sorry you learned your lesson the hard way and it effected Max in such a way he was scared. Max is such a sweet guy, love his soul!

  15. Beautiful. You made me cry like a freak sitting on the bus riding to work. You are lucky to have Max, and he, in turn, is lucky to have you!

  16. Hey brozone - OMFG what an amazing post man - you need to write more, so so SO much more, I secretly hope that after Blogher you will be SO excited you won't be able to help yourself! Mate you don't have to worry about the content, whenever we talk about you writing, we always assume your 1st book will be about you and your "past" - mate fuck the past, write about the here and write about the now, just like you did in this post, write here right now (JESUS JONES)... Our mum stayed at my house last Friday, we all know how much my daughter LOVES our mum, well mum came with me to pick B up from sports camp, B came running up sqeauling with so much delight and raw pleasure and love and she didn't run to me, she run to mum. Do you know how hard that is to cop? SO SO SO fucking hard - I usually cop it pretty well, but on Friday she was excitedly introducing Mum to the boss of sports camp as her favourite person who she loves most in the world, then turns to me as we were walking out and asks if its ok that she loves her more than me. I answered brutally honestly and said no, I am your mother. Then she chatters on with our mum about how she loves me, but her also and then goes "but I love myself first, you have to love yourself first, and thats one of the secrets, and my mum told me she would always tell me all the secrets" and mum looked at me with awe in her eyes, like "OMG you fucking TOLD her THAT"? Oh yeah mum, you bet I told her that - and I will be telling her ALL the secrets, you bet your arse.

    I love you brozone, and that is NO damn secret! xx

  17. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful boy - inside and out.

    Damn, why are you people always making me cry at work?

    I totally relate to the shouting thing. I was raised by shouters and I remember having this moment of clarity a few weeks after moving in with Ted. We were have a disagreement about something - and not even something big - and I started shouting and name calling. Ted does not come from shouters or name callers - like at all. The look on his face was devastating and in that moment I recognized myself as MY DAD. Mean. And, man, was that sobering.

    I don't shout anymore.

    I'm so glad you have Max and he has you and I'm glad you both have Rocco to keep things...interesting? (The broken buddha pic is one of my favorite images)


  18. This post makes me so scared of parenthood. It's the most vivid portrayal of how our dark sides can impact on our kids. Well done, Eden, for shouting less. I don't know if I could change, my dark side seems so hugely powerful. I have the utmost respect for you, and you sound like a kickass mother. Max must be an amazing kid. Beautiful post. That's the sort of post I'd like to read on mother's day.

  19. What a great mom you are.
    You are my inspiration.

  20. That was beautiful Eden. He is lucky to have a mother who loves him so much. I hope you read this to him and he sees that love.

    We all break our parenting rules. Things we think we will never do.

    I too am afraid of breaking my children's feelings. And also their spirit. Thinking back to when I was a child that breaking can happen so accidentally sometimes. That is what scares me.

  21. A echo the many compliments you have received on this post. So honest and transparent. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  22. Gorgeous kid, awesome post. Keeping our sanity without breaking their feelings is what it is all about. I think you've got it down.

  23. Lovely post, Eden. I'm a shouter as well, especially with my younger boy who is absolutely driving me nuts right now. Driving me nuts. But I feel as bad shouting these days as I did the one time I gave the older one a smack. It's getting increasingly hard to be a shouter.


Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...