A success but never again….

I was crazy enough to give my 16 year old son a birthday party on Saturday night. The guest list grew out of proportion, as they do and I existed through the night in absolute stress bordering on fear to be honest. I was cranky and uptight with many of the kids and watched as about 80 kids trouped through my home out to the back yard concealing amounts of alcohol beyond thier capacity. I watched as they swayed and heard the noise level rise until I could tolerate it no longer. I turned of the music and sent them all home. They went. It was over and I breathed a sigh of relief.
They forgave me my crustiness. Only one small thing was broken and the breaker quickly reported it to me and promised to return the next day to fix it, which he actually did to my surprise and delight. No fights or agressive behaviour. My neighbour put a card in my letter box today thanking us for handling the party so well, which was a really touching and amazing thing.
There were a handful of kids who drank too much and caused me concern. Interestingly enough none of these kids were listed when the invitations went out and were all people I let in at the door because I felt sorry for them and didn’t want to turn them away as all their friends were there. I guess that is why they weren’t on the list – because they behave themselves in such a way as to leave themselves out. It wasn’t that bad though, just annoying mostly.
I felt extra stressed because I received some really sad news on Friday night, which I won’t be writing about because it is private but it made me very sad and I would have preferred to spend the weekend alone with my reminiscences. Sometimes you just don’t have that option.
I will not be having any more parties like that. It was too stressful for me and not necessary. I am sad to think kids that young are drinking alcohol to enjoy themselves and I don’t want it in my face again. They are good kids most of them though. This has been reinforced to me again.
For parents reading this, the kids whose parents phoned me and said they weren’t allowed to drink, did not drink. They enjoyed themselves just as much and were a pleasure to have. It is a shame more parents don’t make that stand, including myself.

Suburbia!


Went to Melbourne yesterday, not the city, the suburbs. We had errands to do in a couple of places and I found it to be similar to my previous experiences. Unpleasant! I am always pleased when I return home. Traralgon is getting busier, traffic wise and growth is expanding in all directions housing wise, but it is still a much prettier place.
Perhaps it was because it was a Monday, but it seemed depressing. The big shopping centres seemed falsely bright and glitzy. I really don’t like shopping centres. I don’t like the lack of natural light and air to breathe. I left the centres at both suburbs and walked around the CBD’s and found them to be very depressing. Abandoned shops and grimy streets with too much noise and traffic. People rushing by with no feel of community, but perhaps it is just because I can’t walk 500 metres in Traralgon without seeing a student or someone I know. That sometimes seems tiresome, but I appreciate it more after yesterday. People in rural parts stop and talk to one another, smile and give you eye contact. It’s pleasant.

Neighbourhood Houses

Immediately before I became a teacher, I was a co-ordinator at a Neighbourhood house. I loved my time there. I believe in Neighbourhood Houses and the work they do in the community. I find it challenging though when I begin to think about how under resourced they are and how some don’t work very well at tapping into the needs of the community. Tonight I had coffee with the Traralgon Neighbourhood House co-ordinator.
Jenny is one of the most wonderful people you will ever meet. She is down to earth and giving and really takes care of the people in her community. Her house is thriving because she is intelligent and skillful at meeting her communities needs. When I was doing that job, she was my mentor and my hero. I wanted my house to be just like hers. Full of people and laughter and value for the community. She is still hard at it and I take my hat off to her and all the Neighbourhood House people in Australia. It is such a valuable part of our community.