Now you are 13. To my son on his 13th birthday

To my boy,

Last week we went to a Bonfire party and I went to take a selfie of us and realised you’d grown so much, your face wasn’t next to mine in the photo anymore. I’ve been doing a lot of that over the last year. I see you every day, but sometimes I look at you and you’ve suddenly got taller, or your shoes are too small, or your tops are now crop tops!

I look at photos of you as a baby and think that they must be from just a few years ago, but that time has gone in the blink of an eye. They said it would, when every new baby arrives people say, enjoy it, before you know it they’ll be grown and leaving home, and you’re making a good job of growing, though I hope you won’t leave home for a while yet!

To my son on his 13th birthday

In the last year we have been on some adventures. We’ve spent a lot of time on trams and trains, because you really enjoy getting out and about. We have argued countless times about homework and helping out a bit more around the house, or at the very least, not dumping your things wherever you fancy when you walk through the door.

I’ve watched you grow from a boy, to a handsome young man. You’re tall and muscular like your Dad and you’re learning to enjoy the things your new body will let you do, like pick your Dad up and jiggle him about, which is no small thing! I’ve made you sound a bit like The Hulk, but you’re not. You’re gentle and kind and really care about people and animals. You look after your friends at school and stop them being bullied by the less kind members of your year group. It takes a lot to stand up to people and say no, and I couldn’t be prouder of you for doing that.

To my son on his 13th birthday

You’re a teenager now, caught in that eternal struggle between wanting to avoid soap and hot water at all costs, and wanting your hair nice, your spots gone and for the smell of Lynx to follow you everywhere. You’re developing your own sense of style and have definite opinions about fashion. We are learning to enjoy going shopping together, something I never really imagined for myself, but it’s lovely to see you choosing your own clothes and putting together outfits, though you’ve always been very stylish when left to your own devices.

This letter could all just be about how much you’ve grown, which is indisputable. What I wanted to tell you, because although I say it often, I’m not sure you really hear it, is how proud I am of you. You have your struggles with your dyspraxia, but you’re learning ways to conquer that. It may take you a bit longer to master skills, or to get the confidence up to try new things, but you really are tremendous.

You’re a strong swimmer, a brilliant and naturally talented archer, you love going to the gym and lifting weights and smashing it on the cross trainer. You love all forms of transport and if I’m planning a journey, you’re the first person I talk to, because you’ll always find me the best route. You are kind and funny and clever. Most of your teachers are thrilled to have someone as enthusiastic as you in their class. You love geography, science and history, you’re less keen on French, but you’re still somehow really good at it.

To my son on his 13th birthday

Keep doing what you’re doing, because what you’re doing works. I love you so much and you make me proud to be your mum every day. What a privilege it is to be your parent.

Happy birthday my boy. You’re the very best!

Love always,

Mum xx

12 Things I love about my teenager

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post called 12 things I love about my son. At the time of writing, he was a soft, squishy five year old, and absolutely the apple of my eye. He still is, but he’s now a gangling 12 year old, just finishing his first year of high school and he’s busy cultivating a moustache and an attitude.

What with him slap-bang in the middle of puberty, and me on nodding terms with the peri-menopause, our house is a lively hot bed of hormones. Between us there’s enough shouting and crying to script a Latin American soap opera.

Despite this, we still find plenty to like about each other, and teenagers often get a bad rap, so I thought I’d list some of the things I like best about him, if only so I can look back and read it when he’s locked in his room loudly sulking to himself and telling me to go away.

12 things I love about my teenager

12 things I love about my teenager

  1. He may eat us out of house and home, but he appreciates my efforts to fill his hollow legs, always says thank you and compliments my cooking.
  2. When he gets home from school he always gives me the biggest and best hug of my day.
  3. He always asks to watch funny dogs YouTube videos with me before bed, so we can laugh and wind down together.
  4. He carries my bags home without needing to be asked.
  5. We share a hobby, and although we don’t have much downtime, when we paint together, it’s special for both of us.
  6. He always rushes home to tell me about the small victories in his day; house points won, things he has achieved, jokes he’s told which made people laugh.
  7. He still shares his sweets and treats with me.
  8. He takes pictures of things he thinks I will like when he’s out and about. This week it was a large puddle with a dramatic sky reflected in it.
  9. He asks to spend time with me and suggests interesting things we could do together, like trips on the Metrolink to new places, or he likes coming swimming with me.
  10. He is always coming up with new jokes to try and make me laugh. Some of them are remarkably clever.
  11. As awkward as so many of the growing up, birds and the bees, “all of these strange things happening to you body are actually perfectly normal” chats are, he does listen, engage with me and ask questions, which is such a relief and a good thing. Awkward as heck though.
  12. Sometimes, if no one is around, he will hold my hand while we are walking down the road. No one must ever know this.

12 things I love about my teenager
Those are just twelve of the many reasons why I think he is awesome. I think it’s nice to think about some of the ways the special people in your life make you feel special too, or the things you personally marvel at about them. I know the next few years won’t be plain sailing for either of us, hormones being a big factor in that. But as long as we remember that we love each other, and that we have each others backs, we will hopefully come out the other side relatively unscathed and hopefully not needing too much therapy.

Whatever happens, I wouldn’t swap him for the world. He’s my best boy and always will be.