Every year I write a letter to my son on his birthday. He never reads them, but he will when he’s older and I hope they remind him of the good times we have and how much he is loved. Here is my letter to him, he is 12 years old today. Happy birthday Ben!
What a time you are living through, the last few years have been a global rollercoaster and you have ridden it well. Today you are 12 years old, and as always on your birthday, I take some time to look back at pictures from your other birthdays and remember the soft cheeked, adorable boy you were.
In the last year you’ve grown up so much. Physically you’re a step or two ahead of the boys you went to primary school with; sporting an increasingly dapper moustache, standing a good head above your friends, your shoulders broadening and your voice losing the gentleness of youth.
It’s hard to be an early starter, I was too and although it’s possibly slightly easier for boys, growing into the body of a man is not a simple process. Nevertheless, you’re dealing with it brilliantly, I know we have had lots of really awkward chats, but I’m glad you’re listening, sharing and asking questions. You’re doing fantastically.
It can’t be easy living in this hormonal house, me with my peri-menopausal moods and you being only just 12 and riddled with your newly minted manly hormones. It’s almost always fine to have a shout at each other, as long as we always follow it up with a hug and a sorry. It’s usually the hormones talking, and not the people we really are underneath.
This time last year you were at primary school and I was sadly crossing off the weeks until you went to high school. You had a shiny new dyspraxia diagnosis which had taken just 8 short years to receive, and we had to learn some new ways of being. Dyspraxia is hard work, but sometimes you make it look easy.
Last year I was worried about how you’d get on in a much bigger school, how you’d cope with the rough and tumble, the homework, the lessons, how you’d get to school and back. I should have saved my worry and trusted in you, because you’re half a term in and you’re nailing it.
Each day you get a small clutch of house points, we’ve had enthusiastic messages from your teachers. You’ve settled in beautifully and you’re finding your stride. You are flying my love, and we couldn’t be prouder of you.
Every few months throughout your life, I’ve stopped and reflected on how things are going, and usually I look back and think that this stage in your life is probably my favourite, and six months later I think that again. The truth is, you’re my favourite and watching you grow into the incredible boy you are has been a real privilege and honestly the highlight of my life.
I know I’m your mum and very biased, but other people say lovely things about you too. Your Dad is madly proud of you, your teachers say you’re kind, keen, helpful, chatty, interested. Others have said how much your confidence has grown recently, how smart you look, how respectful, kind and thoughtful you are. You have your moments when you are not very many of these things, but that’s usually the hormones talking, and not the fine person you are underneath.
I hope that you have the very best birthday with some of the friends and family you love most, that we will continue to have such a great friendship. I love sharing a hobby with you, going for walks, going on our regular Wagamama nights out and sharing bags of popcorn while we watch a film. Ben, I hope you know that I treasure all of these times with you. These are the best times.
Happy 12th birthday, Ben. Keep being completely awesome.