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  • Chloe O'Sullivan

On Tour with the Kid: Connective Tissue

Life is full of choices. When you are a kid, you are kind of along for the ride. Still, the decisions that are made for you can change everything.


When I was 11, my mum had to move from one town to another for work. I loved where we lived, and I didn't want to go. Starting a new high school halfway through year 7 when everyone else felt settled and connected wasn't fun. Thirty-six years on, three of the girls I met that week remain in my life. They are my chosen family, and I have no idea what I would do without them.

We have come in and out of each other's lives, but the bond remains intact. We have all had families, known more than our share of love and loss, and even occasionally disagreed. But my life without them would be unrecognisable.

Thanks to them, I have this whole village of people around me to help look out for my kid and believe me, it takes a village. I can give the kid advice about a situation for months, and she won't take it. If one of her Aunts says the same thing word for word, it's suddenly the best advice anyone has ever given. I could be annoyed that she didn't listen to me, but I'm so thankful. Grateful that she knows how loved she is by those who aren't required to but choose to love her. We are now affecting the lives of the next generation because 36 years ago, my mum changed jobs.

That thought warms my heart and scares the life out of me all at the same time. How one little thing can change everything. If I hadn't grown up with my mum, maybe I would never have known I was strong enough to raise a child alone. I knew it would be hard, but I also understood that one parent who really loves you is more than a lot of people get. I watched her all my life do a job she was passionate about. Without that, I might not have known how important that was, and my career might never have become a reality. With few exceptions, all the people I love and who love me, I met because of my job.

The reason that thought scares me is that I now know with certainty that the decisions I make today for the kid are shaping her life. Changing who she will become and whom she will have beside her when life has its inevitable ups and downs. That seems like a lot of responsibility for someone who lost her keys twice last week and accidentally tried to open the wrong vehicle when returning from the shop. In my defence, they were the same make and colour. Sadly, it was the cleanliness of the car that finally gave it away. If there was an exam you needed to take to ensure you are equipt for this enormous responsibility, I'm not sure I'd pass.

One thing I do know is that I will always try. I will always make the best decision I can at the time. I will always be selective about the people in her life because they are the people she is watching when deciding how to become a fully formed human. As adults, we need to take responsibility for our choices. Nothing is more annoying than watching a grown adult revert to victim mode. The downside of being a grown-up is that you are responsible for your choices. But it's also an empowering thing. You have the power to make better choices for yourself and for your kid. Sometimes you have to look into the darkness and leap, but don't waste that amazing opportunity to help them be extraordinary humans who make great choices of their own.


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