A Boy

It was a hot, sunny Monday, the day you were born. I lay in a bath for hours, from early morning right through lunch time, for some relief from the contractions. I worried about your sister, who was with your Nanny but probably wondering why I was gone so long. I worried about your father, who seemed restless and eager to find reasons to leave me alone. Perhaps he was feeling the stress, or the heat.

I closed my eyes and tried to picture your face. In my visions, you had the same brown eyes as your sister and a smile that would melt the coldest heart. Overwhelming love for this person I had not yet met, but kept so close, brought tears to my eyes. My second child, my first son… who would you become?

It was late evening before I met you, and I saw you whisked away, limbs hanging limp from the doctor’s hands. Sheer terror gripped me then, suddenly certain that you would not survive to be the boy in my head. The minutes that passed felt much longer than they really were, while I waited for someone to say something, anything… and then you cried.

The sweetest noise I ever heard, that wail. There was nothing but you after that, as I cradled you in my arms; it was just you and I. Eventually the outside world crept in again, and I gave you up temporarily to be adored by others, while I watched your squashed little face as you adjusted to life outside the womb.

Since then, your life has been a million moments of wonder. You were a quiet little boy, one happy to sit back and watch your sister with her theatrical performances. You let her talk for you for so long, I used to wonder when you would ever feel the need to speak. But your heart-warming smile that made your chocolate button eyes sparkle told me enough; you were happy, perfectly content in our little house, with our little family.

As you grew, you made your first friend. You met her at nursery school and she reminded me so much of your sister. Again, you took a backseat as she shrieked and giggled, happy to be along for the ride. Until the day she shut you in a cupboard, anyway… you cried that day, and sat with me, always a little warier of her after that.

It was a long time until you found your voice. Even at school, “We wouldn’t know there was anything wrong, until he’s crying quietly in the corner. He doesn’t tell us if anything happens… we wish he would!” But to me, you always spoke. I heard your stories of Spiderman and Venom; you directed me as we acted them out. We were spies, burglars, superheroes, squirrel trainers… whatever your vivid imagination conjured up. With me, you could be anything.

You loved song time before bed, would join in with me and your sister, keeping the beat with your djembe drums and singing silliness out loud. Perfect moments in my memory.

I loved to hear you talk about whatever you had learned at school, or from those programs you loved to watch… science, history, nature. A clever lad you were, coming up with theories and ideas sometimes fantastical but often close to the truth. You wanted to know how everything worked and I had my work cut out keeping up with you sometimes.

But I hated your lack of confidence. I hated that you would watch your sister do so much and feel less than her. You were never that, my kind, empathic boy. You found some things harder than she did, without a doubt, but that just meant you tried harder. You were one of a kind, truly remarkable, and you still are.

Now you are 18. My little boy is a giant of a man, with a giant heart to match. I don’t pretend to keep up with your knowledge any more, you ‘science’ much better than I do and I love it. Black holes, nuclear fusion… and still that analytical, logical mind that wants to work out more.

You give so much to people, you shoulder their worries and you care. You care so very much. That makes it sadder that I don’t see that smile so often anymore. I am worried about you.

You, my watcher, seem to absorb the energy of those around you… you are happy when everyone else is happy. I know it is stressful here, with a new arrival imminent and our home opened to others, and I am grieved to see the effect his has had on my boy.

I have let it slide, our Mum and boy time, and I am trying my best to put that right. I hope that you will keep talking to me… never forget that with me, you can be anything. Let’s find our harmony again.

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The Sad Game?

I’m trying to play the Glad Game, just for you, because you tell me I have to. But I’m stuck.

Can I be glad that I’ve spent the day working, completed lesson plans and marked books? No… It reminds me that I spend too much time working, and that I’m spending my time doing insignificant things. Then I realise that I spend a lot of my time doing insignificant things, and I think about my children.

Usually my children give me a reason to be glad. Today, no such feeling… While I was out on Friday, trying to clear my head by taking a drive, my mother was wiping away my son’s tears because he called her instead of me. I spent yesterday with my boy trying to get him to talk about how he feels, but we got nowhere. He is down, and I can’t fix it. I can’t even work out why.

When I get to this point in the thought train I can go no further. All I can do is cry.

Happy Birthday, Son x x x x

birthday

Dearest Son,

Here we are, your 13th birthday, and it seems like just yesterday I held you for the first time. This time 13 years ago, I was soaking in a warm bath, feeling contractions and knowing it wouldn’t be too long until you arrived.

Those years have flown, and they have been wonderful in so many ways. I remember the laid back toddler you were, so different to your sister, happy to sit and watch the world go by without a care. I remember the shy little boy who hid behind the other children at the Mother’s Day concert so that we wouldn’t be able to see you sing along (or NOT sing… because you liked to sing just for me, but not in front of so many people).

I remember your imagination, the squirrels you were going to train to help me in the kitchen, the spies we evaded on the way to school… There was always an adventure with my little boy. And life is an adventure still.

You never fail to surprise me; your humour is wonderful, your capacity for caring is endless, your intelligence is thought provoking and you make me so proud. I’ve watched you grow from that cute little boy into a handsome young man with the ‘big man’ voice that you used to put on. I’ve seen your confidence soar and your thinking mature, and I know that the world holds nothing you cannot overcome.

I love you, my boy, my sweet, kind, clever young man, and I will love you always. There are just so many things to love.

Happy birthday, Son x x x x x x x x