Woman’s Fitness-As-Mother Called Into Question After Missing Son’s Wave

Ding Alley
Ding Alley

Forty-two-year-old mother of three, Sarah Hitchens, is unlikely to regain the trust and affection of youngest son Sebastian any time soon, after failing to capture his first ever successful air reverse on camera Saturday morning.
 
Friends of the family say Sebastian, 13, currently in the back seat of mum’s Honda CRV and being ferried home (most likely via the ToonaPies Bakery) is refusing to talk or make eye contact with the vile creature at the wheel, and has already taken to Instagram to air his frustration with a parent/designated filmer so inept.
 
Posting a black square in protest, @shredsebshred captioned: “This should of (sic) been my first #airrev but … #youhadonejob #lazycow #thanksfornothing #abusiveparent #deadtome, followed by copious angry emojis to underscore his fury.
 
Sebastian, who currently receives a steady and limitless supply of food, shelter, education, in-house laundry and room-cleaning service, gadgets and surfboards, and has both parents on full-time standby as chauffers to school, soccer practice and mate’s houses, reached out to Ding Alley on his iPhone to ‘Let the truth be known.’
 
Not at all concerned that the negligent troll at the wheel was within earshot, Toona’s fifth or sixth hottest U/14 surfer pulled no punches as he took us through the incident.

“I could tell Mum was off her game from the get-go this morning. Like, she didn’t hang my wettie out last night, and we were out of Coco Pops, so straight out of the gate it was like, ‘awesome, this is what I have to work with.’

“Then she wants to get a coffee on the way to the beach. Something about being worn out from her second job, cleaning Air B’n’B properties ‘til 10.00 last night blah blah. So I’ve got to sit there in the car while she goes into the café. Yeah she brings me out a hot chocolate and a cookie without me asking for it but that’s five minutes of my time I’ll never get back. Actually, seven minutes, ‘cos I sent mum back in to get the marshmallow they give ya with the hot chocolate.

“I mean, Come ON! The marshmallow… get with the program, Mum, like, Duhh!”

Sebastian – who receives a generous 25 dollars in weekly pocket-money for stacking the dishwasher every other night and taking out the bins once a week, and who contributes little to the cultural milieu of the Hitchens’ household other than savage lampooning of certain teachers at Toona Middle School over dinner, and moderately entertaining mockery of his older brother and sister – goes on to describe in harrowing detail their arrival at Toona Main Beach. 

“We park the car, the surf looks sick and Mum’s got this big dumb tired smile plastered all over her face as she pops the tailgate. Turns out this scheming Jezebel has had the gall, the temerity, to sneak her steamer and 6’2” into the car. 

“She actually thinks SHE might be getting wet. Like, excuse me?

“So I ask Mum if there’s something I’m missing, like is Dad on his way down here to film? Or maybe she’s got some special invisible friend who’s gonna set up the camera?

“I mean, my rides aren’t gonna film themselves, are they? For pity’s sake.”

“It’s like, have you thought ANYTHING through properly this morning, beyond your own self absorbed fancies, woman? 

“At this stage I should be psyching up, checking my reflection in the car window, visualising, instead I’m swamped in the details she should be across. Like, ‘Mum, get the long lens and the tripod and go set up on the right, there’s no time for the drone, probably just as well the way you’re all over the shop right now, and get some establishing shots of me comin’ down the beach n’ that’”

Using phone records and Toona Surf Cam footage, Ding Alley has established that for almost the entire two and a half hour session, Ms Hitchens dutifully captures her precious chargers’ every wave, as well as shooting several artfully composed pulled-back cutaways. 

Making the most of the lulls, Ms Hitchens also makes several calls, mostly co-ordinating the overlapping logistics of Saturday’s half-dozen school sport and birthday party pickups & drop offs: multiple SMS exchanges mapping out rosters for the upcoming week at both her jobs; emails are fired off to her siblings regarding the health of their ageing father, as well as making a list for the 400 dollar grocery shop she hopes to get done sometime between eldest daughter Karlee’s Netball match and taking Nathan to get new school shoes at Toona Plaza.

A forensic Ding Alley investigation has reconstructed the events of the 25-second timeframe that surrounds the contentious missed wave.

8:32:15 - A set approaches the break from the optimium east direction, a lovely present waiting to be unwrapped. 
8:32:20 - Ms Hitchens readies herself behind the viewfinder and Sebastian paddles into position.
8:32:25 - Inexplicably, just as her son paddles into the wave, Ms Hitchens pulls back from the camera, allows her hands to drop by her side, smiles broadly, and just … watches. 
8:32:26 – Simultaneously, just as Sebastian strokes in to the gorgeously shaped emerald wedge, all trace of twitchy grommet energy vanishes: he links two deliberate, oddly powerful carving turns out of the lip before racing out to the shoulder for a cuttie / rebound combination, from which he emerges with bewildering speed to launch a seemingly effortless air reverse off the oncoming closeout section.
8:32:39 – As if waking from a dream, Sebastian looks shoreward, sees mum behind the camera giving him the double thumbs up, and assumes the ride and move of his life has been documented (the misassumption compounding his distress ten minutes later when he learns it hasn’t).

What are we to make of this, readers?

Are we to suppose that a mother’s love has telepathic energy? By backing away from the camera and just bearing witness, does this somehow release Sebastian from needless concern about the regard of others, and allow him, just for a moment, to surf free as a bird?

Well, not really. No. This wave is just one of those moments when, for no real reason, it all just goes our way. 

And even though Seb will go on to pull hundreds of air reverses through his surfing life, he’ll always remember everything about this one. This wave, all of it, from beginning to end. 

And four short decades from now, when Seb’s in his mid 50s, fearful and dying too soon from cancer in the year 2062, this remarkable wave will play as a reassuring loop in Sebastian’s mind. And best of all is the fact that the only other person who saw it was his mum; his epic and amazing mum, who’s 84, and at his bedside right now, and who remembers it equally well. 

They refer to it often together, as a shorthand of those amazing family years in Toonalook.

Postscript: As we go to press, Sarah gets in touch with Ding Alley to let us know her side of the story. “Yeah, the little bugger was on a roll that session. Soon as I saw that wedge come in, I knew something special was gonna happen, and I knew that if I filmed it, it woulda been on Instagram by the time we got back to the car. I dunno, he’s growing up so quick, I just wanted something we could share, between us, just us two. I’ll cop a bit of heat but that’s cool.”

And when pressed on how she would find her way back into favour with her lad, Ms Hitchens smiled and said, “Sunday night, roast night, followed by chocolate self-saucing pudding. Kid doesn’t stand a chance.”

// DING ALLEY

Ding Alley is Illustrator David @maccatoons McArthur and try-too-hard-sometimes writerer Gra Murdoch.

Comments

senorsimpson's picture
senorsimpson's picture
senorsimpson commented Thursday, 27 Aug 2020 at 7:15pm

Best yet

Senor

mrkook's picture
mrkook's picture
mrkook commented Thursday, 27 Aug 2020 at 7:25pm

that was awesome, got the feels going for sure!

MK

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC commented Thursday, 27 Aug 2020 at 8:21pm

Moving - I hadn’t expected that - lost my mum a few months back. That was beautiful!

MartinNow's picture
MartinNow's picture
MartinNow commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 5:32pm

Hi mate. I lost my mum many years ago, tearing now after more than 30 years. Our mums will always be OUR mums. The story reminded me of a magic moment with my mum which I remembered in comments. Hope you get a kick out of it and remember some magic moments with yours. Regards

MartinNow

Bisho's picture
Bisho's picture
Bisho commented Thursday, 27 Aug 2020 at 10:21pm

Laughing crazily here to the bemusement of my wife and daughter. The forgotten marshmallow... So good.

69longboarder's picture
69longboarder's picture
69longboarder commented Thursday, 27 Aug 2020 at 10:30pm

Well done Gra.
Agreed. One of your best.

servant's picture
servant's picture
servant commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 12:26am

Wow boys another ripper in more ways than one. Thank you.
I struggle to even understand the kids of today....
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
This story is very relatable to me personally. Many thanks again.
God Bless you

lilas's picture
lilas's picture
lilas commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 5:51am

Best story yet!
It's like a layer-cake of truth.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 6:01am

Beautiful - and funny as hell.

Bravo, guys.

andy-mac's picture
andy-mac's picture
andy-mac commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 6:57am

Absolute Gold!!!
Great story, we only have the one grom and that keeps my wife and I busy enough. Was chuckling and laughing out loud the whole way through.
Classic!

Botak

All4rach's picture
All4rach's picture
All4rach commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 7:54am

Hahaha, so good!

Denyer's picture
Denyer's picture
Denyer commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 8:56am

This isn't that far from the truth if you've been lucky enough to share a session with groms at Dbah.

ken.vincent's picture
ken.vincent's picture
ken.vincent commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 9:05am

Words fail ........ excellent.

Hoodie's picture
Hoodie's picture
Hoodie commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 10:05am

Thank you. So true.

blackers's picture
blackers's picture
blackers commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 10:38am

"Toona’s fifth or sixth hottest U/14 surfer" should go to the UN, clearly his human rights have been impinged upon.
More seriously, I love mum's reflection in the postscript. As a parent of 2 teens, those shared moments are golden and few and far between these days. Food is always the best bribe.

Dan87's picture
Dan87's picture
Dan87 commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 11:27am

Very good. I actually teared up! Funny how having kids makes you soft...

milney's picture
milney's picture
milney commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 10:21pm

Not sure 'soft' is the best word to describe it.... something more positive perhaps?

Bungan33's picture
Bungan33's picture
Bungan33 commented Saturday, 29 Aug 2020 at 8:20pm

Not soft. A new reality. Soak it up I say!

sangsta's picture
sangsta's picture
sangsta commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 11:51am

Ah, a mother's love for their precious offspring. Nothing sweeter......., except maybe an instagramable Air Reverse while eating Chocolate Pudding. Awesome, thanks for this installment of Toonaisms.

wiseautogas's picture
wiseautogas's picture
wiseautogas commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 12:56pm

the self entitlement is extremely well presented gotta love the self sacrificing mums

john wise

H2O's picture
H2O's picture
H2O commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 1:14pm

This one tops it - well = with debatable barrel!

H20

Tallyvally's picture
Tallyvally's picture
Tallyvally commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 2:20pm

I hope all those mums sitting at dbah filming their charming little darlings each morning read this!!!

zoddle's picture
zoddle's picture
zoddle commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 3:06pm

UP THE MUMS!

Henry's picture
Henry's picture
Henry commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 3:15pm

I originally thought young Sebastian might need a session or two with the famed Dr Petra Mill, on second thoughts, the little fucktard probably needs 6 rounds in the ring with Baz. Reckon Mum might need the session with Petra though ey?

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 4:04pm

Jumped the gun on friday beers mate?

3dfins's picture
3dfins's picture
3dfins commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 3:44pm

so good

3DFINS

benjis babe's picture
benjis babe's picture
benjis babe commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 3:51pm

hahaha nice one Rhonda, but you gotta pull rank.. surf comes first, then filming...

MartinNow's picture
MartinNow's picture
MartinNow commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 4:49pm

I seem to remember my generation was fairly self centred too. I've got to tell about one of my mum's greatest moments:

My mates and I had just come in from an early. Down the track to the carpark comes mum, Brunhilde, my younger brother and his mate in Hilde's '57 VW beetle. But they all had their their heads down low because the roof was crushed in! Apparently mum had let her wheels drift off the bitumen into the gravel on Heathcote Road which was not as it is now back in '75. She lost it and flipped it landing on the roof!

Luckily all were unhurt so they all got out, rolled it back onto its wheels and continued on to Coalcliffe to meet up with all us Valley Boys.

Needless to say she was given a huge welcome and round of applause by us all for being an amazing mum.

Thank you Brunhilde!

MartinNow

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 7:43pm

Ha... MartinNow - yep, did enjoy it. Funnily enough our family car was a VW Type 3 station wagon - when u got the steering wheel on full lock it would trigger the horn. So there was some pretty noisy reverse parks in the beach car park ...

My Mum (and Dad) quietly supported my enthusiasm for surfing with family coastal camping holidays, 2nd hand boards and wetsuits as b'day presents... they never made a big deal of it but I think were pretty happy that I was outside doing something healthy... plenty of worse things for young men (and women) to get mixed up in

...whenever Mum had been down the beach I would ask what the surf was like... regardless of conditions - big, small, windy still, glassy, choppy, full or sucky her answer was always the same, 'ah... it's closin out Neil'. It was the only bit of surginfg lingo she ever uttered. She had zero idea what it meant and it was just our quiet little joke. RIP Mum, (all departed Mums). I will always love you - thanks

Qld1973's picture
Qld1973's picture
Qld1973 commented Wednesday, 9 Sep 2020 at 3:35pm

My wife says the same when I ask, "looks like its closing out" (no idea) XD

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 11:56pm

Great writing Gra, your mum would be proud.

When I was a grom my mum used to wash and iron my boardies. I was always going off at her- "mum, don't wash my bloody boardies, the ocean does it." but she'd never listen.

I used to cop so much shit from my mates walking down to the waters edge with two perfectly ironed creases, ruler straight running down my thighs.

I love you mum, you're the best.

ps- mum too, would always ask, how was the surf? Did you get some nice waves?

1173

steverubysdad's picture
steverubysdad's picture
steverubysdad commented Saturday, 29 Aug 2020 at 7:50am

Beautiful. Started strong, ended strong. I teared up, couldn't help it. Up there with the missing surfer, the rock off and the over claimed barrel. Thank you.

steverubysdad

SI's picture
SI's picture
SI commented Saturday, 29 Aug 2020 at 7:35pm

Awesome Gra. Loved it.

Barrelrider

Brad Farrell's picture
Brad Farrell's picture
Brad Farrell commented Saturday, 29 Aug 2020 at 11:56pm

Woulda been on Instagram by the time we got back to the car...... Classic!
If you don't post it online, did it ever happen?

..............

views from the cockpit's picture
views from the cockpit's picture
views from the ... commented Sunday, 30 Aug 2020 at 7:39am

Niiice Gra, Lotsa good emotions and memories tied up in that.
Blessed are those who had/have unreal mums. They are not everyones.

I think "Sorry Mum I'm a victim of peer group pressure" scribbled on a note left on kitchen table before disappearing for a weekend surf after being warned profoundly to not to do so was one of our favourites.
And I learnt as a teenage grom that "Mum,... I met a girl" could cover me for virtually any disappearance, late night past home time, not come home at all, no phone call, etc.
How on earth did that work??? XXOO

gomatix's picture
gomatix's picture
gomatix commented Sunday, 30 Aug 2020 at 10:39am

Great piece! Had our two groms read it and maybe, just maybe there was a twinge of recognition! We all had a good laugh.

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref commented Monday, 31 Aug 2020 at 5:38pm

Thanks Ding Alley. That was a ripper. A nice surprise at the end, too.

Nigeisblessed's picture
Nigeisblessed's picture
Nigeisblessed commented Tuesday, 1 Sep 2020 at 11:59am

What a mum. She's awesome.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Friday, 4 Sep 2020 at 9:57am

11/10.

Shaunmelican's picture
Shaunmelican's picture
Shaunmelican commented Friday, 4 Sep 2020 at 4:27pm

Such a good read! You just made my afternoon or even the whole weekend.

icandig's picture
icandig's picture
icandig commented Friday, 4 Sep 2020 at 8:03pm

Thank you Gra. Took me back to a long time ago when mum would drive me to the beach. Not ashamed to say I leaked a couple of tears myself. Her roasts were the best.

paul.tainsh's picture
paul.tainsh's picture
paul.tainsh commented Monday, 7 Sep 2020 at 10:53am

Watch "The Fletch and Seb Show" on youtube for an actual real life account of this story - with the absence of an air reverse and all.

paul.tainsh's picture
paul.tainsh's picture
paul.tainsh commented Monday, 7 Sep 2020 at 10:53am
christopher.jones's picture
christopher.jones's picture
christopher.jones commented Wednesday, 9 Sep 2020 at 4:38pm

Very good.