My five year old was setting the table tonight. He hesitated, fork in hand, thinking, before asking, "Mum, is Dad in a different country?" I replied, "No, he's in Indonesia. But he's not in Jakarta." A shrug of the shoulders, and a toss of the fork back into the drawer, as he sauntered off to do what he had been asked.
All part of a standard day.
And then at dinner, some questions about what my man was actually doing. My very matter of fact eldest answers with some authority, "Two hundred people died when the boat sank. He's gone to try and work out who the bodies are."
Because that is a normal task.
He did add, "But that would be pretty disgusting, when the bodies have been in the water for a week."
Fabulous. He's eleven years old. How does he know that would be disgusting?
Dinner continues, and we start to talk about the books they are reading.
But my mind remains in our conversation. Pondering what a strange life this really is. That my boys are annoyed that their Dad is away, not with them during their holidays. That really, at their age, it is all about them.
Their thoughts do not immediately go out to the families of the bodies yet to be identified. To the people in far off lands, still hoping their loved ones are going to arrive in Australia, to receive opportunities they could only imagine. And then there is the attached politics which I won't begin with here...
I was encouraged when, during prayers, one of my boys prayed for the victims' families.
Though mostly, I was struck with wonder. What would it be like to have a Dad who was an accountant, a lawyer, or a teacher? One who stayed in the town he was born in, played some golf, and made it to the school interviews and concerts? Not to suggest many of those Dad's are not working some crazy hours. And my man is travelling less now than he was when we were in Australia.
But the conversation tonight unsettled me a little. Made me realise our boys have been exposed to some fairly unusual things in their short lives.
It is our life though. And we can only walk through it together, talking, talking some more. Hoping that as a result of all of this, they will be men who will have an awareness of the world that may not be shared by some of their peers. A compassion for people that many don't gain. And of course an appreciation for what needs to be done when tragedy strikes.
I can't wait to see who they become.
- A flexible five year old.
- Opportunities to assist.
- My boys understanding more about the world.
- A replacement phone.
- The story of a family serving in Nepal, risking all with their boys.
- A wonderful Christmas day in Jakarta.
- Relaxed friendships.
- Pondering our year as we approach a new one.
- Uncle Harvey's life. Lost suddenly from this temporary world on 23 December.
- Confidence that Harvey is home.