On the beginning of a new phase and the possibilities it brings

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."  -- Seneca.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” — Seneca.

My son will be sixteen in two months.

Under New Zealand law, he will be able to leave school, drive a car (albeit on a learner’s licence), have sex, leave home, live with a partner, enter full-time work and get a tattoo. I’m kind of hoping he won’t do any of these things immediately (except driving maybe; I’m starting to be ok with that).

tom in pedal car sdmall

Red sports car: what more could he want?

His life as an adult is beginning, and with it so many possibilities. With only a year until he finishes school (assuming he passes exams, etc) – he is beginning to confront the enormity of “what next?”

And he’s not the only one! For the Big T and me, “what next” is occupying our thoughts too. This is not to say that we’re planning to abandon the boy-child, but our relationship to him is undergoing fundamental change and we are starting to recognise that the lives we live now – shaped so much by the needs of a child – are neither functional or necessary into the future.

Looking back, parenthood is a succession of beginnings. And perhaps all that really changes is the pace of change itself.

Mobility is everything to the boy-child

Mobility is everything to the boy-child

You start off measuring the baby’s age in days, then weeks, months, half-years … until recently I’ve found myself talking about “the teenager.” Total dependence becomes “can sit up” then “crawls around”, “runs off the minute you turn your back”, “learns to ride a bike”, “catches the bus to another city to stay with friends” to finally “can I borrow your car Mum?” and “if I can get a cheap flight I’ll come back for Christmas.”

Adapting to each new phase is a challenge that all parents face differently. I’ve been surprised at how laid-back I am about the boy-child being away from home – in contrast to his otherwise totally chilled dad’s anxiety. When he turned fourteen and could be left “home alone” I found myself scanning the movie listings, planning date-nights, while the Big T would look bemused and say “that doesn’t sound like a family movie.”

Yet when my boy was little I was infinitely more neurotic – about everything – from whether I was breast-feeding properly to worrying if the spot on his back could be measles, or just a mosquito bite?

Family portrait, January 1999.

“We know what we are, but not what we may be.”
― William Shakespeare

I don’t know what the new phase of our lives will be like, any more than I could have comprehended how parenthood itself would be. What I do know is that raising my son has changed me irrevocably – and I think for the better. I hope I can do justice to the possibilities the next phase in my life will bring.

su and tom recent

“The possible’s slow fuse is lit by the Imagination.”
― Emily Dickinson

This post was written in response to both the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge (beginning) and Ailsa’s Travel Theme (possibility). They just fit so well together!

Here are a few other posts I’ve enjoyed on one – or both – of these themes:


Weekly Travel Theme: Possibility


Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning





Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning


Dare We Hope?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning


Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning (and beginning…and…)


24 thoughts on “On the beginning of a new phase and the possibilities it brings

    • Thank you 🙂 when he was little people used to stop me to tell me what a lovely baby I had. Little did they know that the smiling, saucer-eyed bundle was a screaming, sleepless nightmare at home.
      The boy-child and I have come such a long way on our journey.


      • It is so sad; there was a case recently where a young woman killed several other people in a car crash and when her cell phone was retrieved it showed she was texting the kind of inane messages that wouldn’t even warrant opening your mouth to say the words if you thought them. Grrrrrrrr!


  1. Pingback: Beginning #photography #newyear #nature | Moondustwriter's Blog

    • Loved the pancakes! What a nice touch. The driving age here used to be 15 – no learners permit or anything, just get behind the wheel and go. Learners and restricted licenses were introduced a while ago and a couple of years ago the minimum age rose to 16, which I think is much better in a country where drunk young men in fast cars are massively over-represented in our road fatality statistics. This definitely feels like the scariest part of parenting to date.


      • I agree. We have a graduated license system here, it did not exist when I was growing up and when I think about it now it makes me cringe. You also have to be over 21 to text and drive here, which makes me nuts! There is no way I should be texting and driving just because I am older. Distracted is distracted! OK, will stop ranting now before I get too wound up.


    • I’m with you – distracted is distracted!!!! I’m glad the NZ government banned cell phone use totally while driving – although it’s amazing how many people blatantly disregard the ban.


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