I just had to get some last little contributions to the family before he flew the coop. The dining room chairs badly needed recovering. So off I went and bought the necessaries. YouTubed the instructions. Then set the boys to work. TRH (The Retired Husband) did the first test run. Then taught young Marc how to do the rest. Actually, they did it together. Patterns and cutting of wadding and fabric was my job. End result – brilliant! TRH also got the boys to help with some badly need gardening. Removed some hedges so we can put in another bank of rainwater tanks. We hope to get them all filled while it’s still raining. This winter has been an unusually wet one. What with less bodies living in the house now, we figure the rain water will last us a long time.
Monday this week was Marc’s last day at home. We had decided to have a family celebration, farewell dinner in the evening. In the afternoon, TRH and I took time, whilst we were home alone with him, to give him the leaving home gifts we had prepared. TRH had lovingly crafted him a tool box of sockets and man-stuff. It is an exquisitely beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Mine? A mumsy gift – natural, chemical free first aid products. Along with instructions for use. And a credit card size flip thingy of photos of us all for that heart first aid when the need hits.
Monday was pack up day for Marc. He was restricted to what he could take for the first three months as he will be in a four share room with limited space. We had a nice home cooked dinner. Well, truth be told I supervised TRH as I was not well enough to woman the kitchen myself. He did a good job. I did try to make a cake the day before. That’s it at the top right. It was an unmitigated disaster best wrapped in newspaper and relegated to the bin. Don’t ask me what happened. I have no idea. Somehow I managed to turn a four ingredient cake into an inedible lump.
The menu? We started with dry fried meat balls, prawns two ways. Mains was steamed vegetables, mashed potato and our 4 meat version of a Finnish slow cooked casserole called Karjalanpaisti which is awesomely delicious. Desert was my version of a warm rhubarb soup served with icecream. I have a habit of improving recipes. This time I cooked (I actually did make this one) the rhubarb in freshly squeezed orange juice, added vanilla beans, and sultanas and thickened with potato starch. It was yum. All of it. Then we cleared the decks and played poker. And finished off with a family hug.It was a good night.
Early Tuesday morning TRH dropped Marc off to the swearing in venue in the city. We followed a few hours later to take part in the ceremony. Well, observe it, rather. It was all a bit anti-climactic. Lots of sitting around waiting. There were only five recruits from South Australia, the rest coming from all over the country. They were chuffed off by bus to the airport leaving us standing at the kerb waving a tearful farewell. It was a long day for the young man. He did not arrive on base in Wagga until after pm. From the videos we were shown the program will be pretty full on for the next three months. The first week and a half will be learning to iron, clean, sew on name badges, clean – all the fun housekeeping stuff! Here Marc has a head start. He can do all those things. The day starts for them at 5am. There will be yelling. There will be lots of gruelling physical activity. There will be lots of bonding and team work.
As you would have gathered by now, Marc has left home. Sealed his fate for the next four years. Signed on the dotted line. Monday to Friday he is out of communication with family and friends. Mobile phones are returned only for the weekends. That is gonna be tough.
Slowly, I am beginning to get my house in order for life to continue with one less child living here. It’s all good.
© Raili Tanska