We went for a walk today. With a picnic in a backpack. Living in a tiny appartment in a langourous beachside suburb and because of WOW (and teenagehood) we haven’t really walked it together.
He has his hoodie down most of the way, when suddenly, at a bustop, he stiffens, shoves up the hoodie, hurredly crosses the road. A group of boys his age, in the same black hoodies, but smaller, skinnier, surfier.
He mutters something about his reaction being about me being with him in front of those boys but then says ‘this is their beach’. I started the glib mama speak about it being a free country and we can go anywhere. But his words made me think back to my teenage years when an innocuous trip to the supermarket was fraught with terror that you’d be spotted by the tough group and what was I wearing?
So I get that. And we sat and ate in companionable silence (love that phrase) on a grassy knoll just overlooking Tamarama. But not in anyone’s beach turf. And it made me think about how WOW gives him his own place where he can hang with the disembodied voices of his friends, unmolested by surfie dudes. Which is fine, a safe space, an online places where he ‘has a voice’, this is what most counsellors advise, but what about the physicality of bashing against waves, stacking it off your board, flying off a flying fox into the water, or pretend WWF wrestles with your mates? WOW boys don’t get touched often, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Which is why they still need lots of hugs and cuddles. That is something a mouse can’t do.