So, now he is twelve; my youngest of four. Clever, witty, handsome - slightly patronising in that way teens can be towards their silly bumbling parents, but he is the most wonderful company, and I love that I get to spend this time with him.
It’s been a hard few years - for both of us. This was the third birthday card signed “love from Mum” and it pierces my heart every time. Yet, as each year passes it becomes - not easier, but just the way it is. An ever evolving state of normality.
He has coped incredibly with these difficult years and we’ve emerged as a pretty strong team. I am aware that there are many challenges ahead - high school, teenage years, exams etc, and I’m bound to get things wrong. But I’m also confident that we will work through them. If I’ve learned anything about this boy in the last few years, it is to trust him to recognise what he needs - what’s best for him. He is the most self-assured person I know - and secure in his own sense of self. I hope he can hold on to that as he grows older, and I’ll do my best to make sure he does.
This weekend was a low key celebration - just the two of us. Some new tech, cards, facetime and phone calls from family. Later there was a wonky stack of freshly made doughnuts for a cake. Next week - a cinema trip with friends then out for dinner. He’s having a happy birthday.
Twelve years, twelve candles; they’ve come in the blink of an eye. I see the young man in him beginning to appear more and more these days, and I’m looking forward to meeting him. It’s one of those bittersweet parenting paradoxes - looking wistfully backwards while feeling excited about the future. But I’m just trying to hold on to the present - it’s enough for today.