A letter to my son, on his 12th birthday

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.

A letter to my son, on his 12th birthday

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.

Ben 2022

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.


Days Out: Adventure Now in Manchester

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.

A letter to my son, on his 12th birthday

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.

Mum xx

A letter to my 8 year old on his birthday

I remember holding you in my arms when you were first born. You were all soft and delicate and people said “treasure every minute, they grow up so fast”. And here we are, about three minutes later and you’re 8 years old.

Days Out: Autumn at Warwick Castle

You were never really that delicate and fragile. You were born weighing 8lbs, 15oz and I remember when you were a day old, you lay on my tummy and lifted your head to look me in the eye. Babies are not supposed to do that, but you did. You’ve been amazing me in big and small ways ever since.

Your life seems to be rushing by in the blink of an eye, but when I sit and think of all the things you’ve done, the places you’ve visited and the things you’ve achieved in the last twelve months, it seems like such a lot.

How we've helped our son reach for the stars, and beyond!

What have you done? You’ve been to Beaver camp twice, you’ve got your first mixed martial arts belt, you’ve done SATs even though you didn’t know you were doing them.

You’re reading chapter books, you’ve done really well with your swimming and you’re moving up to another level soon. You’ve been on a million adventures with us, we’ve been glamping in yurts and pods, we’ve had holidays with friends and just our family. You’ve grown tall and strong and you’re healthy, which I thank the universe for every day.

You are funny and cheeky and so full of love and care. You’re more brilliant than you’ll ever know. I just wish I could give you the confidence you need. Believe in yourself more Sunshine, you CAN do things, you can do anything you want as long as you try.

Little Sports Coaching - learn new footballing skills

I always say, all I ever want from you is to try your best. Be the best Ben you can be and you’ll not go far wrong. You still want to be a Ninja Scientist and although that’s probably a pretty tricky dream to achieve, with some hard work and luck, you could get there.

Be brave Ben, be bold. Carry on being kind and funny, with a smile full of half grown teeth and cheeks deep with dimples. Happy 8th birthday to my best boy. You don’t half make your Mama proud.

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A letter to my son on his 7th birthday

Each year on my son’s birthday I like to write a blog post for him to look back on in later life. Today my son is 7 and growing up fast. He’s changing in a thousand different ways each day and each week. It’s hard to capture all the changes and all of our adventures in a few paragraphs, but I’ll try.

Dear Ben,

Today you are seven years old and growing up fast. I couldn’t be prouder to be your mum. In the last year we’ve had some grand adventures and I hope we will have many many more.

A letter to my son on his 7th birthday

Being six hasn’t always been easy, we’ve been learning to live without your Grandad and we’ve said goodbye to a few special people who I know you miss. You’ve been brave at hospital appointments and you’ve taken everything in your stride. You are a star and I wish I could take every needle and test for you, but I can’t.

Seven. I can’t believe my tiny baby is now a seven year old boy. You’ve grown tall, you’ve grown strong and you’re growing into a funny, charming, chatty boy. You’re working hard at school and I can’t ask for anything more than for you to try hard and listen to your teachers.

We’ve done such fun things while you were six. Penny the crazy puppy burst into our lives and we’ve watched her grow up. We had that brilliant holiday in Ribby Hall, just the two of us, remember? We went to Lapland UK and met Father Christmas. We’ve been rock-pooling, we’ve met sharks and otters, we had that great break in Blackpool where we saw the circus, danced on the prom, rode a donkey and just had a brilliant time together. Shall we do that again?

Keep having brilliant times, keep making brilliant memories and keep being brilliant.

A letter to my son on his 7th birthday

We’ve got so many hopes and dreams for you this year my love. We want you to work hard and try hard at school and to carry on reading and learn to love books as much as I did at your age. We’d like you to recognise how special you are, how kind, caring, lovely and funny you are. We want you to be confident and happy in yourself. We want you to know, really know that you are loved and adored by us.

I want you to be happy, I want you to love life and enjoy everything about it. Enjoy being seven Ben, it’s a great age to be and I hope you’ll let me join you on a few of your adventures this year.

Happy birthday my beautiful boy!

All my love, Mummy xxx

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Now we are Six – Happy Birthday Sunshine

The small boy is six today, I’ve written a little letter which I hope he will read when he’s a bit older. I’m so proud of him in every single way. Happy birthday Sunshine xx

When I picked you up from school yesterday we held hands and chatted on the way home. When we do that it’s always the highlight of my day. You’re turning into such a big boy now, I love that every day you have a handful of new and brilliant words. You used some of these words on our way home, when you told me about your day and you asked me questions about your family, the grandparents you’ve never met and never will, and your grandad who has just gone to heaven to live with the stars.

As we got close to home I told you about my day, about the birthday cakes I’d baked for your party and how I hoped you’d like them. You’ve variously asked for a Paw Patrol cake, a Power Rangers cake and a Lego cake. I hoped you wouldn’t be too disappointed, but when you saw the pirate cake I’d made for you, the only word you had was “wow” and that made my heart glad.

What a year we’ve had my son. A year of firsts and lasts, of smiles, laughter and heartbreak. The low point by far was your grandad dying. I love that every time you mention him you glance at me to check I’m ok and then you give me a hug. I asked you about your favourite things about the last year and you said school, which is nice, but then I reminded you about our first camping trip to the Just So Festival, your first foreign holiday and flight to Majorca, meeting Tim Peake and all of the lovely family times we’ve had.

You’ve grown sunshine, you’re growing up. You’re full of life and cheekiness. You’re funny and full of care for the people around you. You’re clever and you’ll go as far as you want to in life. You do things on your own terms, and I’m glad of that. Follow your own path, be true to yourself and you won’t go far wrong.

I don’t know what the next year holds in store for you, I’m hoping that it will be a good one for you and for our family. Keep being you my beautiful boy. Keep trying hard in everything you do, keep being the wonderfully loving boy you are and keep smiling that beautiful dimpled smile which lights up the world.

Six is a grand age to be and I hope you have the best birthday ever. I love you so much today. Happy birthday Sunshine.

Happy birthday sunshine

Just 365 Days until I’m 40

Today is my 39th birthday. When people ask me how old I am they do the head tilt and I’m sorry for your loss face, like my birthday is akin to a death in the family and that time is mercilessly marching on. That’s what time does, it inevitably drags you each second, each minute slightly closer to old age and infirmity.

Except I already feel reasonably infirm. I know pensioners who don’t groan with pain when they stand up half as much as I do, so I’m cool with the getting old thing, because my body is already like 75 or something.

I have 365 days left until I’m 40. I’m curious as to what the big deal is, when that magical day arrives does a fanfare sound and your boobs suddenly drop to your knees, your hair turns white and you start paying into your funeral plan? Well I’ve got news for you time, you’re too late on at least two of those things!

I’m pretty sure nothing actually happens and that 40 is nothing special any more. Thirty years ago 40 was properly old, with life expectancy considerably lower than it is now, turning 40 mean’t you probably had 25 years left, tops. These days barring serious illness or disaster, people are living well into the eighties or nineties. So chances are I’ll be creaking on for a little while yet. 

Last year on my 38th birthday I reflected on the previous 12 months and nothing had really changed. The year before that I did the same, and nothing had changed. And the year before that, and the year before that. Nothing really changed. Ok, so I’ve had to change my job because of my health, and I’ve changed my entire life when I became a mum, but time ticks on and nothing ever really changes.

I don’t fear 40, because it will be no different to 39 and 39 will pretty much be the same as 38. A friend asked me how old I’d be today, I told her I was 39, “howay pet (she’s from the extreme North), you donae look that old” and that is the hope I’m hanging on to. 

I’m not especially vain, I’ve never been a beauty so it’s not like I have looks to lose. I’ve always been the funny one who gets drunk and makes people laugh. I’ve always been the caring one who people tell their darkest secrets to, or come to for a shoulder to cry on. These things don’t tend to age, they don’t tend to droop or go grey or get wrinkles. Plus I’ve got my Nan’s “good skin” and my Dad’s don’t give a crap attitude.

So with 365 days left until I’m 40 I can honestly say I don’t give a crap. Happy birthday me; may 39 be a vintage year, full of gin and tonics, pedicures and curly wurlys. Chin chin x

nearly 40

Birthday Girl (38 today)

It’s almost a blogging tradition on your birthday to look back over the previous 12 months and reflect on what has passed. I can’t be bothered, I’ve looked backwards for far too long now, it’s time to look forwards for a change, time to give what’s coming at me the hairy eyeball.

What’s going to happen…
My baby (now aged 3) will start nursery at school
I will get a bit greyer and a bit more wrinkly
My back will deteriorate a bit more
I will start a new, very part time, but very fun job
With school hours and work my lifestyle will change, along with it friendships
We will get a puppy and I’ll pretend it’s the baby I can’t have

What I’d like to happen…
I’d like to be a better Mum
I’d like to earn enough money to feed my family
I’d like to be in less pain
I’d like to laugh more and be loved more
I’d like not to be a slave to my anxiety
I’d like to watch more sunsets, hear the roar of the sea and feel the wind in my hair

I don’t think it’s an outrageous list of demands, especially coming from a girl who put “conditioner” on her birthday list. I just want to be happy, safe and loved. It’s all anyone wants I think. I try so hard to make sure the small boy feels all that, because it’s so important; as adults, as parents those things are often neglected. Or maybe that’s just me.

So happy birthday me, I’m 38, who knew I’d make it this far? Let’s raise a glass and toast surviving another year! Cheers.

Birthday girl