Tough to keep se­crets stashed

The Western Star - - FAMILY LIFE - PETA JOHANSEN Peta Jo is an au­thor and sin­gle mother of three. Visit her on Face­book.

A COLUM­NIST con­fess­ing she has trou­ble keep­ing things to her­self prob­a­bly isn’t an earth-shat­ter­ing rev­e­la­tion.

But when you have chil­dren, there are un­doubt­edly things that must be kept un­der lock and key, and I don’t just mean the medicine cab­i­net.

Things like where Santa lives, where mummy keeps her choco­late, and that’s if you’re lucky.

If your life is more com­pli­cated, you may be keep­ing se­crets from them like where daddy goes at night, why mummy takes so much medicine.

I found my­self in the pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion re­cently of keep­ing a se­cret that I des­per­ately wanted to spew forth to the near­est avail­able ear. For my own self-care more than any­thing.

And if you’re a reg­u­lar reader, you’ll know I’m a big ad­vo­cate of open com­mu­ni­ca­tion and trans­par­ent re­la­tion­ships with our chil­dren.

But for this, for their well­be­ing, I duly waited un­til the kids were asleep to be­gin the vent­ing.

No sooner had I be­gan hiss­ing into the phone than a child ap­peared, bleary-eyed, in the hall­way. I sent him to sleep in my room, al­ways a sure-fire way of cut­ting short his night­time so­journs.

Ex­cept for this night.

No, his spidey senses must have been tin­gling be­cause he lay wide awake. Lis­ten­ing.

I went out into the back­yard to con­tinue my pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion.

But, lo and be­hold, when I next looked up, two chil­dren were at the glass door, watch­ing their mother out in the dark, her phone clutched be­tween her hands while she mouthed at them, “Go to bed!”

I re­mem­ber see­ing my fa­ther and nana dis­cuss a pri­vate mat­ter once. They ex­changed a look when I came out – you know the one – and stopped speak­ing.

It didn’t help that it was in the lo­cal news­pa­per and I, even though young, could un­der­stand a court story.

While this was not newsworthy, and prob­a­bly not even in­ter­est­ing to most, I am acutely aware of my chil­dren’s un­canny knack for un­earthing facts. They’re mine, af­ter all.

One is stealthy and skilled at go­ing un­no­ticed in a room. The other is a tremen­dous in­ter­roga­tor. The third, straight up, has a spooky abil­ity to cut straight to the chase.

So, de­spite my years on this Earth and sig­nif­i­cant time spent as a jour­nal­ist, I am well and truly out­num­bered here.

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