Callum is still in bed when I leave home to take Charlotte to an orthodontic appointment. By the time I return, he has got up and gone out.

Imogen tells me, “Callum thrust his washing at me, asked if I’d put it in the machine, then went out to see Casey.”

We don’t see anything of Callum all day. He texts to say he is busy Christmas shopping with his girlfriend. In the evening, he comes rushing through the door and slides into his seat just in time to eat dinner with us.

“Did you hang out my washing, Immy?” he asks between mouthfuls.

“No,” Imogen answers. “I put it in the washing machine as you asked but you didn’t say anything about hanging it out.”

Callum sighs. His plan to get someone else to do his washing has failed. How did that happen? Usually his younger sisters are most obliging. He spends the evening pegging his clothes to the line. His work pants have to go in the dryer. He needs them first thing in the morning.

“Anything else you want me to do, Mum?” Callum asks. “I‘ll be out for most of tomorrow but I’ll do my jobs first.” I give him a short list of things that need doing.

It is 5.15 am. Callum is up and getting ready for work. I can hear him bumping around the kitchen as he prepares himself breakfast. The cats are meowing. They would like breakfast of their own but Callum is not taking the hint. He clomps into the garage and for a few seconds I can hear the contents of the freezer being rattled about as he searches for a frozen packet of filled lunch rolls (prepared in advance by his younger sisters). The garage door bangs. The front door bangs. Callum is gone.

Callum finishes his shift at work. He returns home for a shower but Andy and I are out shopping and don’t see him. By the time we return he has left again to see Casey. I ask Imogen, “Did Callum do those jobs I left for him?” Imogen shakes her head. I sigh.

Andy and I are going out again too. We have a Christmas dinner to attend. We warn the kids we might be late home. But we’re not. The party is boring. We decide to come home early. If we’re not late into bed perhaps we’ll make it to early Mass as usual.

I am tired. I slide between the sheets and try to find a comfortable position. I wriggle around a bit and I wriggle a bit more. Time passes and as I lie there in my sleepless state, I begin to wonder where Callum is. Time ticks on and eventually I hear a car door slam. The front door opens and I can hear boots clomping down the hall. A minute later they return. I hear all the outside lights being turned off. More clomping sounds. I think: Did Callum lock the front door? I am sure he didn’t but I’m too tired to get up and check. I fall asleep at last.

It is 6.15 am and I am in the kitchen putting the kettle on. I feel exhausted. Yesterday was a very long day, punctuated each end by unseen clomping-second-son boots. And now I can hear those boots once again.

“Good morning, Mum!” Callum is hurrying cheerfully towards the front door. “Just going to pick Casey up. We’ll see you at Mass.” The front door slams. He is gone.

I could sigh as I think about my second son; my charming son who clomps through life with a smile; my ever-optimistic son who always hopes someone else will do his jobs for him, help him out with his washing, make him packed lunches…

I hear Callum’s bass voice booming out the hymns. I see him on his knees praying. He is just behind me as we receive Our Lord.

I think of my second son, who however tired he may be, will get up early to go to Mass; my son who gets up extra-early so he can pick his girlfriend up and bring her along too;  my son who could go to a later Mass but prefers coming to the 7.30 am one so he can be part of the family.

And I conclude things aren’t so bad after all. I smile.

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  1. Definitely sounds like he is getting the important things right! Amazing young couple to get to 7:30 Mass each Sunday!

  2. Stephanie,

    There is such a temptation for young people to adopt the ways of their non-Catholic or non-church-going peers when they go out into the world, away from the family. I am so grateful Callum has decided to remain 'different' and to live by our beliefs. Because of this, I can forgive his failings. Hopefully they will disappear with time!

    Thank you for stopping by with your encouraging comment.

  3. Wonderful article about your son. God bless!

  4. Colleen,

    Thank you for sharing my story. Callum is a good son despite my sighs!

    God bless.

  5. Aww! *sniffle* That was great! He reminds me of my Amy... she has not been getting her chores done at all, and we are having to take up her slack. But the difference is that she does not get up for mass unless I wake her myself. She does like to go, but sometimes I wonder if its 'important' to her, or is it something she just 'does'. Amy is a sweetheart and funny and lovable.. but she drives me bonkers.

  6. Susan,

    "she drives me bonkers" You have put that so well. That's exactly what Callum does to me sometimes. He is such a charming person though. He has a lovely smile and knows just when to buy his mother flowers or a box of chocolates. He makes wild promises to do his jobs properly and I am sure at the time he means to keep them, then all his good intentions float away out of his mind... But I love him dearly just like you love Amy.

    Is Mass important to our teenagers? They are grounded in the Faith. Even if they drift away a bit I'm sure they will return. It's so much a part of who they are. But they might need time to work this out for themselves.

    Good to share teenager stories!

  7. Oh Sue, thanks for sharing! I can see my now 12 yo in that role only too well. I'll have to remember to come on over and re-read this entry ;-) I'm glad you're still writing - it is one of those "talents" that you are making the best of. God bless you ~

  8. Beate,

    Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were still friends when your son becomes a young man like my son Callum? We could continue discussing the joys and worries of parenting young adults.

    Thank you for returning to share my posts after I declared my retirement from blogging. I didn't stay away long. I love writing too much!

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Beate. May God bless you and your family.

  9. Oh I do hope we're still in touch in the future Sue!

    Have a blessed Christmas season!

  10. Callum sounds like a wonderful young man - some young lady (maybe this one) will be blessed to have him as a husband one day, even if she has to do his laundry!

  11. Dana,

    I'd be quite happy if Callum and his girlfriend decide to marry in the future. She is a lovely young lady. I just hope she likes hanging out washing!

    God bless.


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