parent opinion

"The act that made me realise 11-and-a-half is the best age of a kid."

Ah, parenting.

It’s a labour of love, right?

We love those little cherubs – especially when they’re asleep.

We’d die for them – but we just don’t want to have to make them dinner every night.

I know you all hear me loud and clear. In your totally fried mind, within your utterly exhausted bodies, I know you agree with me that the emotional, physical, and financial (geez is that it? Only three?) sacrifices are (mostly) worth it for the joy and fulfilment our beloved offspring contribute to our lives (50 – 80 percent of the time).

That is why I need to tell you that there is hope, you guys. There is light at the end of the dark tunnel. (I am joking: sometimes the tunnel is lit by glow-in-the-dark slime because it gets everywhere.)

It started for me about three weeks ago, when I was at Woolies and my son, who’s 11-and-a-half, sent me this text message while he was in the library (20 metres away in the same complex, with a phone he has because he sees his dad separately, so please just focus on the positives here):

As my Instagram story showed, I was mildly pleased. Source: Supplied

Before splitting up, we had casually talked about him getting himself a hot chocolate from the neighbouring cafe, but then I went to grocery store and thought nothing of it. So imagine my surprise when I got a text from my kid asking me "What coffee" I'd like.

I saw the text and started shaking with nervous excitement.

Dear God, is this actually happening?

Steadying my hand, I typed back "Skinny mocha please", and whilst I held my breath for his response, watching those three little dots, the magic happened.

"Cool," he wrote.

Within five minutes, he'd found me in Woolies, and was bearing a hot chocolate for himself, and a god damn skinny mocha for me.

To mark this momentous occasion, I took to Instagram immediately with a screenshot of the texts, and the caption: "The day has finally arrived - my kid on a coffee run. I so deserve this."

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Because, you know, every single thing I've done from the second he was born, he's been my first consideration, and it's usually for him. That's called being a parent, and that's what I signed up for, yes, I know...

But dear Oprah it was so nice to be taken care of in that small way in return.

I have to say I've been pretty lucky with my son - so far. He takes out the rubbish every morning, unloads the dishwasher, helps with the laundry - he's such a good kid with his chores. And now, it's so nice to see him growing into such a considerate young man.

This was a wholly unexpected, but very welcome development. It just made me realise he's becoming independent.

As a parent, that's exciting and scary, and also, the way it's meant to be. Which is why I now think 11-and-a-half is the best age so far.

So, before the teen angst sets in, and he doesn't care what I think, or say - when he still wants to please me and won't refuse to do things that don't have much in them for him, I'm going to enjoy his ability to do little 'grown up' things for me.

Which is why I pushed my luck this morning. In the usual morning before school and work chaos, I had an inspired idea.

"Honey, can you please polish my boots for me?" I called out.

He came into my bedroom. He asked which boots. He grabbed the polish, and sat on the floor, and did it perfectly without complaint. Not with a whinge and in a lackadaisical manner: but in silence, and well.

"Oh, 11-and-a-half," I thought to myself.

"You rock."

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