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  • Writer's pictureInnes Thomson

Telling the Boys

Updated: Jul 26, 2022




If you recall, Greenwood had given some sage words regarding speaking with the boys and telling them like it is.


For this to make sense, I must give you a precis of the relationship. I think my relationship with them is good (and Kerry's). Not that long ago they expressed that whilst Kerry isn't their Mum they see her very much as step-mum. That may sound insignificant, but for it to be offered without solicitation meant a lot to us.


When the boys were adjusting to having 2 homes, there was discussion about not disrupting routines, school etc. Arrangements were discussed and put into place. These arrangements were adhered to, then they were modified then they ebbed and flowed. Suffice to say that what was agreed changed, it morphed and continues really to be a moving feast. The boys are in the habit of coming over on a Friday, getting fed mostly in a restaurant of their choice, retiring to their bedroom and descending into the ‘wormhole of screens’ and teenagedom. Typically reappearing in the morning after much cajoling from me, being given a breakfast of champions then doing a Foxtrot Oscar to whatever their weekend entails. In respect of the fact, that they are teenage boys and have their own priorities, we have agreed that if they don’t come one weekend, then the next is a must. There have been instances of them skipping 2 weekends, but they are quick to remind me that it's nothing to do with us per se. I am actually comfortable that it isn’t that they don’t want to spend time, more they have their own wee lives developing.


So, as this was all going at a pace that still alarms me, to be frank, I decided that they needed to know. If things panned out in the routine they were, I would’ve had round 1 of chemo and I may be not have been in great shape when I next saw them. I called, told them I had news to share and insisted they come over.


They came over one evening, sulking like the little shites they can be at times, aghast that I had interrupted their School Holidays with a visit to Dad’s place.

We sat down and I poured my heart out. I cried. They both cried to different levels, in keeping with their characters. I gave them the whole jing-bang, didn’t sugarcoat it in any way. Carter’s 1st words were, ‘are you in pain, Dad’. Miles asked, ‘how did I get it? Kerry provided much comfort to them both, something for which I am immensely grateful. We cried a wee bit more, then we talked about the future and really tried to normalise it as best I can. I was brought up in a family where, had this happened, at either 14 or 16½ years old, I may have been deemed too young to be given the news or it may just not have been discussed at all.


As a parent, I always have strived to speak with my lads as ‘peers’, in an age-appropriate way. What I mean is, speaking with them in open, honest ways and not hiding from anything. We’ve talked about some topics that my Mum and Dad have never talked about with me to this day. My view is that they should form their own opinion and/ or position on things. They can hear my side of events/ topics/ concepts, but they must form their own opinion and seek the truth in everything. That involves corroboration and inspection of others’ viewpoints and that solely believing what they’re told by someone is selling themselves short. I need for them to be as critical of everything that’s going on and know the truth as best as I can help them establish that.


I guess I either told them everything in pretty straightforward terms that they understood or completely bamboozled them. When asked if there was anything else they needed to know after a couple of rounds of questions, they appeared as if they were ‘good to go’. Confirmed by the next question which was ‘where are we going for Dinner Dad’???? Too funny. Dinner came and went without event and off they choofed back to the world of screens, scootering and all things teenage lads.


I haven’t seen them now for 3 weeks. 1st weekend after round 1, we agreed they’d not come anyway, even though it was Miles’ birthday. In hindsight, we should’ve gone ahead. I wasn’t crash hot the second weekend. Last weekend, there was an infection in their home, and we agreed it prudent that they stay away. So, I look forward so much to seeing them next weekend. Miles has been in touch much more, often phoning with no apparent reason, something he’s rarely done previously. He always asks how I’m feeling and seems genuinely concerned. Carter continues to be the elusive teenager and rarely picks up calls. When we do speak, he does appear to be concerned though. They both definitely know the seriousness of this.








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Laura Fitzsimmons Strang
Laura Fitzsimmons Strang
09 may 2022

Bless them Innes, sounds like you and Kerry handled it "as perfectly as one could given the circumstances" - a conversationno parent wants to have EVER - never mind at auch a young age. Your parenting ethos sounds spot on.


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