Broc didn’t mind.
I’d just finished doing the laundry when I felt my son Broc’s hands against my back.
All of a sudden he pushed me, and before I knew it, I was flying across the room.
The clothes I’d washed scattered all over the floor and everything became a blur.
Then my head collided with the wall and I blacked out.
When I came to, Broc, 14, was by my side, crying.
“I’m so sorry, Mum,” he sobbed.
His face was streaked with tears and his eyes were red.
I thought back to our argument earlier. He wanted Hungry Jack’s and I’d said no.
In a moment of rage, Broc gave me a little shove.
“I know you didn’t mean to hurt me, sweetheart,” I said, rising to my feet and giving him a hug.
I couldn’t be angry at Broc for what he’d done. I had to remind myself every day that my teenage son was different from other kids.
When he was five, he was diagnosed with Sotos syndrome, a rare condition that meant he would keep growing and growing, by up to 15cm a year.
He was already 213cm tall and had just started high school.
Although I told him daily, Broc simply forgot how strong he was.
Along with his gigantism, he also had heart problems, ADHD and intermediate explosive disorder.
His dad and I had recently separated, which made him even more upset.
“If you keep misbehaving, I’ll call your dad,” I threatened.
It was one of the few things that could keep him under control.
But as Broc grew older, he got angrier. Nothing I said worked to calm him down.
When he snapped and hit me across the face one day, I knew I had to do something.
Sending my son to a psychiatric ward was the hardest decision I’d ever made.
“Please, I don’t want to go!” he pleaded.
I felt guilty about what I was doing, but even doctors assured me it was for the best.
For three months, I visited him daily. I was so lonely without him in the house and sobbed myself to sleep. I felt like there was a hole in my heart that was being torn wider and wider each day.
“Take me home,” Broc howled when I visited him.
The doctors and I both knew he wasn’t ready to be released yet.
I cried uncontrollably as I said goodbye to my son at the end of each visit.
For his sake, I was trying to smile, but I’d fallen into a depression and couldn’t imagine getting better until Broc was with me again.
He could be aggressive sometimes, but my son was also the gentlest person I knew. His cousins adored him and he had lots of friends at school.
I thought back to how sweet and loving Broc had been when I sat by his bed, reading him stories each night.
“He’s just a little boy stuck in a giant’s body,” I told myself, trying to imagine how hard it must be for my son.
Broc’s gigantism had caused a curvature in his spine and narrowed his spinal cord. Just walking was difficult for him, and I couldn’t even give him painkillers because he was born with just one kidney. Surely anyone would be angry if they were in as much constant pain as he was.
Slowly, Broc’s moods began to stabilise and he was allowed to come home with me.
It wasn’t until he walked back in the door and ducked to avoid hitting his head on the doorframe that I realised how much he’d grown in those three months.
Dressing him was getting harder and harder for me. Even the longest pants were too short, but I couldn’t find anything bigger.
Broc didn’t mind.
Broc didn’t mind.
“I’m the Hulk!” he said, smiling.
“No, Broc,” I said. “You’re even tougher.”
I was glad that Broc was feeling better about himself, but I worried about his future.
When he started vomiting every time he ate, we spent weeks in hospital trying to figure it out. Even doctors drew a blank.
His myriad problems meant people kept asking me if Broc was going to live.
The question played on my mind constantly. I’d watched him have seizures when he was only a baby. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing my only child.
So, we got in the car and drove 1600km to see a doctor who specialised in Sotos syndrome.
“Oh my!” he exclaimed when we sat down in his office.
“Your son’s the tallest man I’ve ever seen.”
But he gave us some good news, too.
The pain in Broc’s spine would always be there, but he could still lead a normal life.
Broc’s face lit up.
“I’m not going to die!” he cried.
The doctor expected that Broc would keep growing into his early 20s.
Now 19 and 233cm tall, Broc became the world’s tallest teenager last year. He could easily become the tallest man in the world.
But at least he has outgrown his ADHD and finished school.
He desperately wants to get a job, and I admit it would be handy to have some money coming in.
I had to give up work to be Broc’s carer years ago and things are tough for us. But we’ve learnt that no amount of money can match the joy that we bring to each other.
“I don’t want to marry, I don’t want kids,” he said. “I just want to be with you, Mum.”
When I tuck Broc into his 2.4m bed each night, I feel like the proudest parent in the world. I couldn’t imagine life without my son.