Juggling With Fire

It is quite early on a Saturday morning. I haven't had much sleep. During the night I dreamed that I found a lump in my breast. When I woke up at an ungodly hour, of course I found a lump in my breast. I sent a text to The Man, who is currently in China, so he could prepare himself for single parenthood. Because clearly I was about to die. After some hours of mentally rehearsing touching deathbed scenes, I realised that what I had was more of a ridge than a lump. And actually, there was a similar one on the other side. Aargh! Two lumps. Then it occurred to me that maybe what I was feeling was possibly a muscle. I have, after all, been lifting (quite small) weights in the gym for months. I sent a further text to The Man: Possible alternative diagnosis - an actual muscle. Middle aged woman goes to doctor to be told she has a muscle. Surprise all round.

Of course I will go to the doctor. Of course she will tell me I am fine, but sensible to have checked. Of course..

Today is The Boy's 21st birthday party. That dear little baby, who was always happy, but saw no reason to go to sleep. Ever. And now he's all grown up. Still always happy. Sleeps more now. Still as crazy as he ever was. On his list of things to do this morning is Buy Kerosene. There are going to be friends juggling fire sticks at the party. What could go wrong? Some time ago The Boy decided to juggle with steak knives. He sent me a photo of the blood. Silly boy, I could have sworn I told him not to juggle with steak knives. Didn't I? Or did I skip that instruction?

I have been nagging him for months to do his tax. I told him yesterday now he is a grown-up there are No Excuses. Several weeks ago he asked me to write a book for teenagers leaving home. He said there were so many things he had no idea about. Like the first time he paid his electricity bill, he stood there holding the bill, with no idea what to do with it. Should he recycle it? Or keep it? Why would he keep it? Was it important?

Well, of course I was up for that. I knew exactly how it should start. 'Do not juggle with steak knives' would be my first piece of sage advice to the young and confused, followed by 'Do your tax'. But then, before my magnum opus was even properly begun, I found the exact book he was after. It has already been written, by a pert and charming young redheaded snippet of a journalist. Curses. There goes my writing career before it even started. Still, it is a wonderful book. Any of you with young adult children, order it right away for them for Christmas.

It is called Adulting (How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps) by Kelly Williams Brown. Kelly Williams Brown is an annoyingly accomplished and engaging writer. Her book covers cooking, cleaning, and filing bills. She also gives useful advice on appropriate behaviour and dress codes at work as well as important tips on how not to kill houseplants. The chapters on friendships and relationships though, are absolute gold, and the real reason we all need to go and buy this book immediately for every young person we know. With this book in hand I feel I could have navigated the treacherous shoals of my rocky teenage social life, university years, and young adulthood much more gracefully and with more confidence and integrity than I did at the time. I loved this book. There is also a blog which includes some of the material from the book, and more useful life advice. Yes, you may thank me now for sorting Christmas presents for all your nieces and nephews/god children/grandchildren, and every 18th and 21st you ever go to from now on. You're very welcome.

I will now be popping out to the gym to work on that muscle.

Updated to add fire juggling photos. None of which, I am pleased to say, feature The Boy:)


CJ said…
I'm making a note to give mine the steak knife advice first thing tomorrow. Although they don't ever listen. I told the littlest boy forty times not to pick up piles of sodden leaves because there might be something nasty lurking in them. Did he listen? Oh no he did not. Ugh. Wishing you a good weekend, and thanks for the smile you've given me. CJ xx
I hope regular medicals and self checking for breasts and balls part of that book on how to be a grown up. You know you COULD write that book as I am guessing it is not Aussie content
Anonymous said…
Least your lumps are muscles. I sent a friend to the doctor cause she had a lump. Turns out it was lipoma. Oh no! I exclaimed. Only to find out lipoma is a lump of fat!

So if Boy couldn't juggle knives, why does he think he wil have more success with fire? Perhaps start with oranges?

I will investigate the blog and book. Though living in Sydney, my boys will never move out. Also because it is too cushy here, bar the regular nagging.
GretchenJoanna said…
"Juggling with Fire" is the best blog post grabber I have read in a long time, and it seems warranted by the topics addressed! Please do tell us when the doctor comfirms your new muscles. My children managed to become adults without absolute disaster, and now it is the grandchildren I pray for!
Jo said…
CJ, just read your blog post and realised what your son found under that pile of leaves. No wonder you don't like autumn!
Michele, no, it was not included - I guess not on the radar at 27 when she wrote the book. But you are right - it's one of those things we should remind the young 'uns (and ourselves).
Lucinda, it's even more likely that mine are lumps of fat! And Gretchen Joanna, of course I will let you know if the doctor finds muscle! But probably, now I have read Lucinda's comment, yes, fat...
Heather said…
Oh, Jo. Just know that a lot of lumps are just annoying cysts. I have so many lumps in my breasts. I've even had one removed. They actually just found something on an ultrasound that isn't a cyst, but they think is something else (not cancer they think) and I have to go back in 6 months to see if there is any change. Not absolutely reassuring, but I'm staying positive. The most important thing is to not freak out too soon. It is actually very common to feel lumps and bumps. Just be sure to follow through with the doctor.

I just looked up from my computer and told my kids to never juggle steak knives. They looked at me like I was crazy. I guess I'm safe in that respect. I think I will check out that book, though.
Alas a relatively young reader, I don't recall my mother telling me not to juggle neither knives nor fire. Actually, I don't recall much advice in that sort of department.

The biggest 'adult' prep I got was at 9 when she sent (ok I went willingly) to boarding school. Being taught to use a pay phone, the old coin ones and a phone card. Learning to cut my own fingernails. I remember this clearly.

As to electric bills - my parents toss em when paid, and I religiously file them. If anything, i reckon I could teach my parents about filing - just the sort of mind I have. But there are so many things about growing up I realise people don't know... People OBVIOUSLY not being me :p
Unknown said…
Another morning chuckle courtesy of Jo. Gosh i could of think of several young people i could get that book for. Yesterday we went out with one such living away from home, working, young adult. She expected her Mum to shout her the whole day, of course paying no regard to the cost, ordering the most expensive of everything. She is first on my list.

I had my free boob inspection a few weeks ago and received the all clear. With no family history of boob cancer i was expecting this result but surprised to see how relieved hubby was. He was obviously worried.

Despite the separation its obvious you are still good friends with your Ex. Did he get a good laugh or just shake his head.

Jo said…
Aargh, Heather, I think I would go a bit insane with your diagnosis. Waiting and seeing is just the worst! You are, as always, amazing. As women we just have to do a whole lot of hard things, don't we?
I am glad to see your kids are so much more sensible than mine:) But an ounce of prevention...
Sarah, you are clearly way ahead of your parents there. At least half of my children are also more organised than I am, especially the ten year old, who could win gold at the Olympics if organising were a sport..
I do feel that I would have loved some worldly and practical advice as a teenager about all sorts of things. I was a very prickly teenager though, and hard to give advice to. I do make sure to have lots of conversations with my own teenagers though, being as tactful as I possibly can be, about everything from how to sit nicely when wearing a skirt, to how to make small talk at parties, to advice about relationships with the opposite sex (clearly I am not an expert at this, but I am very good at the 'what not to do' part..).
Lynda, you will be pleased to know there is a whole section in the book about not mooching off your parents, and how to have a grown-up relationship with your family:)
So pleased your boob inspection went well! And yes, I manage to get on quite well with The Man (mostly) which is wonderful. He generally shakes his head in bemusement.
Anonymous said…
I've had not one, but TWO mammograms as a result of the underwire-itis which is caused by having too much side-bosom in a front facing bra. Unfortunately they don't make many side-bosom encompassing bosom holders, so now I scoop. And adjust.
Jo said…
Miss Maudy, this is so educational. A whole new medical condition has now come to my attention! I would be writing to the manufacturers of foundational undergarments if I were you!!
Don't sweat that the marriage hasn't turned out as planned - you got this far with your children, so I'm sure there's many a great lesson from that, that your children would benefit from emulating!
Anonymous said…
Love the book and blog recommendation! I've trawled through the whole blog (gosh, at 47 I've still got a lot of Adulting to do myself!) and reserved the book at the library). Loretta
Jo said…
Sarah, it's true, life is one big long learning experience. But who learns from it? That's the question. I might well be a very well-rounded human being at 99, but history tells us that our children don't learn from our mistakes.. life is, as always, a conundrum.
Loretta, I feel exactly the same way about that book. Plenty of lessons for me there..

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