It’s hard to tell teenagers (or even adults) that times of darkness do pass and a new day will dawn.
When the children were very little I’d worry about them especially if I left them at home with a babysitter while we went out for the night. Are they in bed? Is everything okay? Have they gone off to sleep?
But really, when you know they’re at home, sound asleep and tucked up in their beds, that is when you absolutely don’t need to worry.
Because then they grow up and there’s a reversal in the situation where suddenly you are the one at home, lying in bed trying to sleep but unable to because your little children are now teenagers and they’re out, out of the house, gone. And lying in your bed you stress over who they’re with and what they’re doing and how will they be getting home and when will they be home.
When it was time for Archie to go to high school, we sent him to boarding school. He hated it. He’d come home every weekend and tell us he didn’t want to go back but with a tough love approach, every Sunday night we sent him back saying, ‘It will get better’, ‘You’ll thank me when you’re older’, ‘You’ll look back and say, ‘These were the best days of my life’.’ But Archie wasn’t convinced. He was lonely, ostracised and bullied.
When Archie had been at the school around 18 months I went to bed safe in the knowledge that all my children, (even though Archie was not under the same roof), were tucked up in bed and sound asleep. At 1.50am my mobile phone rang. I was instantly jolted from a deep and restful sleep to a state of panic. Who could be ringing? What’s happened? Who’s in trouble?
When I answered the phone all I could hear was horrendous traffic noise and the beeping and braking of large trucks. I said, ‘Hello?’ And a voice came back, ‘It’s Archie. I’ve left school mum’.
And I sat bolt upright. Archie! Where is he? What’s he doing? Why isn’t he in bed at school? ‘What do you mean you’ve left school?’
‘I hate the school mum, so I’ve left. I’m walking home, I should be home by morning.’
We lived an hour’s drive from the school. ‘Where are you?’
‘I’m on the freeway?’
That is not a safe place to be especially at that hour of the night when you’re 13 years old and you’re on your own. ‘You’re on the freeway and you’re walking?’
‘Does anyone know you’ve left?’
‘No, I waited until the Master in Charge left the building and then I walked out.’
Carl was getting out of bed and throwing on a tracksuit. ‘Tell him to get off the freeway and head to the nearest petrol station and I’ll meet him there.’
Apparently Archie had been walking for two hours. He went to bed and someone did something or said something and Archie just snapped. He’d had enough. That’s when he decided he was leaving. He didn’t pack anything or take anything with him, not even money. He was wearing his Corp uniform and he took his phone but that was just about out of battery.
Because Archie had only been on the freeway for a short time we asked him to turn around and head back to the nearest exit and walk to where we knew there was a 24-hour service station. Carl drove off in his car and phoned Archie and kept him on the phone until he found him at the service station. He bought Archie a drink and they sat down and had a talk about it and what it was that had triggered such an impulsive and dangerous and ill-thought out plan.
It was about 4am when Carl came through the door with Archie. I was still wide awake.
We let Archie sleep-in the next morning while we rang the boarding master who was already well aware that Archie was missing.
We went to the school that day for a series of meetings. Archie was allowed the rest of the day off and told to go home for the weekend and that he could choose a boy from his boarding house to come home with him. Archie didn’t have any friends at the boarding house but he chose a boarder from the country and that boy was told to leave class, pack his things and come back to our home for the weekend.
The school told Archie that over the weekend he was to think about whether or not he wanted to return to the school. We let it be Archie’s decision.
And Archie decided he would give it one more try.
And he’s very glad he did. The early days were rough but they passed and Archie ended up loving his school days. He had many wonderful and happy years and is so pleased to have gone there and graduated.
And as for the boy Archie brought home for the weekend? He became Archie’s best mate and Arabella’s boyfriend!
Archie now knows, dark days don’t last forever.
When Archie would come home for the weekend I would ask him what is was he would like me to cook. He often asked me to cook these No-Fuss Blueberry Muffins for him for breakfast.
Have you had the ‘middle of the night’ phone call?
No-Fuss Blueberry Muffins
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: These are inexpensive compared with what you would pay for a very inferior muffin at a bakery
- 2 cups SR flour
- 1/2 cup castor sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
In a large bowl combine flour and sugar and mix well. In a smaller bowl combine vegetable oil, eggs and sour cream. Mix well then pour into the bowl with the flour and sugar and mix well. Add frozen blueberries and stir gently.
Spoon mixture into muffin tins and place in a 180C/375F oven for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes before removing from the tin.
Serve warm with butter.
This recipe has been adapted from Donna Hay’s, Off the Shelf