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What Women Want - April 2016

03 Apr 2019

Reflecting on what’s important

It’s been a very … reflective few months. A lot has happened, but that’s not unusual. It’s just been a deeply altering kind of time.

I’m writing this to you from a camping chair, under a marquee shared with friends. We are at Penrith at the Sydney International Regatta Centre watching our kids compete in various events for the national rowing titles.

Of course the “kids” think of themselves as “independent teens”. They are in the U17 and U19 divisions but, given they are the youngest divisions here, it’s now feeling like they are really very little.

It’s a reflective time as we watch them compete, set goals, succeed in those goals or more often, come back with a new determination that next time will go better.

It’s a reflective kind of time because, for my son, it was just a week ago he was on Cloud Nine, having placed silver in division one for his single at Head of The River.

That was a good day. And it was reflective, because it was just a week before that we were in Taree at the Central Districts Regatta when the regatta was struck by a mini-tornado and the roof of the rowing club peeled off and flew into boats and cars. The kids were sheltered under marquees that took off and the wind reached 120 kph.

That was a bad day. But even on bad days, good stories can emerge. And that’s why it’s reflective – you just sometimes have to really look at things differently, to see what you’re meant to learn or experience rather than necessarily what you thought or hoped you would experience.

At the Taree regatta, when the storms were hitting and people everywhere were taking cover, protecting each other, protecting boats, comforting those frightened by the roaring winds and the sideways rain and hail that reduced visibility to no more than 30cm in front of you – at that time, in that storm, five young “independent teens” knew the under-19 girls’ single race had started 2km up river. And they knew they would be in trouble.

These five young men ran through the gale-force winds to the furthest point on the river they could reach before they jumped in to swim out to the girls in their boats.

The girls were struggling. They couldn’t see. Boats were at risk of flipping in a once-calm river now churning with waves. Lightning cracked around them and the hail continued to pelt them.

The boys successfully brought the girls home safely to shore and they were hailed heroes. One of those boys is my son.

On the first morning of nationals nearly three weeks later, I caught the courtesy bus from the car park to the stadium to watch Nikolai compete in Australia’s largest regatta.

The bus was packed, I squeezed in next to a couple and we were excitedly chatting about the improving weather – it was raining but not as badly as forecast.

They had a New Zealand accent and they told me they had just recently moved over to Australia. They told me that this would be a much better regatta weather-wise than one they had just recently been to – at Taree.

And in that same breath they told me they were so grateful to some young boys who had rescued their daughter mid-race at Taree.

I looked at her as tears hinted in her eyes and mine and I just said “that was my son”.

We gushed good luck messages to be passed onto our children and there was an overwhelming urge to just hug each other. So we did. And that is why it has been such a reflective time.

I’ve reflected on what’s important. It’s very important to have goals – to train or study or work to achieve them.

It’s important to compete and not give up, and to stretch your self to go for goals that are almost impossible to achieve (nationals).

But what is even more important is who you are whilst you are doing that – where your moral compass guides you to be while you are travelling along that path. Because, although the path may change dramatically, and there are good and bad days to be expected, it is your integrity, courage and determination to be true to yourself that will stand you through all of the unknown.

Perhaps the ultimate goal in life is to have your name spoken with pride, spoken with respect, spoken with great love – whether to your face or when you’re not there.

What a woman wants is to teach her children how to achieve all they set out to achieve, but what a woman needs to know is sometimes they have already achieved far more than anything that can be taught.

With much love, and pride, this month.

Abby x

PS you can email me at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or join me on fb or insta @abbyjanecrawford

I appreciate your emails

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