I’m writing this here because you know what your dad is like for putting things in a safe place and then losing them forever. I’m sorry, I’m going to get all squishy about you now, I’m not sorry actually, because you should never be sorry for loving someone.
Dear Ben, today you are five years old. In your head you’re a big boy now, able to do everything yourself, apart from dealing with buttons, zips and fiddly yoghurt pot lids. I look back over the last five years and see what an incredible feat of development childhood is, how you’ve gone from completely dependant on me for everything, to where you are now, shouting at me because you can’t get into your pudding quickly enough.
You are awesome. You take so much of life in your stride. For most of what you can remember of your life I’ve been “poorly” or in chronic pain as the doctors call it. You can’t remember me chasing you around, swinging you over my head, rolling around giggling with you. I can.
I don’t think you mind (yet) that I can’t do those things any more, and you help me out, taking my shoes off, doing my bending and lifting for me, fetching and carrying for me. You’re a star. At five years old people think you shouldn’t have to “care” for someone else, but caring for other humans we love is part of life and part of loving someone. Selflessness seems to be an increasingly rare quality, and my son, you have it in spades.
You are so full of love for everyone, you tell me you try and play with everyone in your class so no one feels left out, that you love everyone in your family best, and that you love dogs. Really love dogs. It’s a very good thing to love dogs Ben, dogs will be your best friend for life if you let them, you’re never lonely if you have a dog.
I can’t believe that you’re five now. Just like I won’t believe it when you’re 10, or 18 or 21 or buying your first house. Time is a horrible thing, it moves too fast when you want to grab it and hold it to your chest, like a tiny little baby, or a five year old boy, or a grown up lad with his first broken heart.
Time ticks on, runs away from you, the trick is to make the best of each moment, you might not get it right, but good enough with no real harm done is often the best you can hope for. Life is far too short to be unhappy, so be happy and if something is stopping you from being happy, change it.
Ben, you fill my heart with so much love and happiness, your dad too. I hope you have a brilliant birthday, that you like your new bike and all of your presents, and that you enjoy having all the people who love you best around you on your special day. Keep being brilliant Ben, because you are.
Love you to the moon and back!