Now you are ten, my son!
Double digits, a decade, 10 on 10th December. We made it, you and I, through our first ten years together. We’ve made mistakes, we’ve laughed and cried and learned something new every day. Mother and son, new roles for us both, we’ve both aged, one in a good way, one in an old and wrinkly way, but that’s just as it should be.
So today my darling boy is your 10th birthday, a school day, much to your dismay. On top of that, you’ve got French and PE, how unlucky can one boy be. But you won’t remember those little details in the years to come.
I would imagine that you’ll be up bright and early this morning. You’ve been on count down for weeks now. Will your much wanted Lego train set be all wrapped up and waiting for you? I wonder.
If we get you dressed and out the door for school on time it will be a major miracle. You’ve planned your day in minute detail. No idea who you take after there. School pick up will see your best friend coming home with us. You have planned a major Lego building afternoon (let’s hope this train set has arrived) and you’ve already written a menu for dinner. I had suggested that we could go out for food but no, you wanted to maximise on playtime instead. Your birthday, your wishes. I’m sure it will be fun. Cake, you’ve made your specific requirements known, thankfully not too complicated, and candles, specific candles. Did I manage to track down the candles?
So what has life taught you in the last ten years, my lovely boy? A love of steam trains, construction of anything and everything. A love of nature and the outdoors, that thankfully doesn’t seem to be waning just yet. A love of cats, you love your cats fiercely, even when they do demolish your creations. You’ve learned determination and although you find certain things harder than your peers seem to, you just keep going. Patience, something you have in abundance when you’re doing something you love, less so when it comes to school work and the boring things in life. Temper, yes you’ve got one of those, we seem to have reached the teenage years a little early, but we will find our way through. But as much as you can be explosive, you can be just as gentle and kind. You may not be the most compassionate of people, but you aren’t afraid to hug, kiss and hold hands. You’re a thinker, things often whirl round in your head without you being able to find a way to communicate your thoughts to the rest of us, you find that as frustrating as I do, but we get there in the end.
You’ve discovered a love of art, and I can see that life may well lead you into a hands-on world using practical skills rather a world of academia, and that’s fine. To be happy in life is the most important thing I could wish for you.
Your imagination continues to roam free which brings joy to my heart. In a world where creativity seems to be stifled, you live freely in a world of make-believe and long may that last. You recreate our adventures, design new machines and disappear into a world of your own. I wish you’d put your thoughts down on paper, maybe one day.
You’ve started reading! Proper books, slowly but surely. I don’t think you’ll ever be a bookworm like me, but to see you reading is just so lovely to see.
You’re not a sportsman, well not a team player at least. You like your running, but only sprinting, but I wonder whether athletics, in general, will be your thing. I don’t see me ever standing on a touchline cheering you and your team on in rugby, football or cricket. It’s not you, that’s fine, the bonus is that we always have free weekends to have our own adventures.
We are close, you and I, and I’m so grateful for that. We have spent so much time together, just you and I over the last ten years. Being an only child has given you the opportunity to have me all to yourself. There’s good and bad in that, and as much as I’d wished you’d had a sibling, it’s been wonderful to concentrate on you and your interests, even if my house is just one big Lego playground.
You’ve stopped asking if you can have a brother or sister, I think you’ve realised how much you’d have to share! I still feel guilty for all that you are missing out on by not having that sibling. I worry about who will be there to support you when I am no longer here, but you can’t miss what you’ve never had, and it is what it is.
Ten years done. You’ve learned to walk and talk, you have half your adult teeth, a fantastic memory and an incredible sense of direction. Not something you inherit from your mother. You have no interest in learning to ride a bike, which does make me a little sad. You still want to be a steam locomotive driver or designer when you’re older, we’ll make that dream come true if that continues to be your desire.
You aren’t afraid to do your own thing. You don’t follow the pack, you are most definitely an individual. You are fiercely loyal but you don’t let many people in. You don’t make friends easily, which worries me for the future. You often stand on the sidelines rather than jumping in. It makes me sad at times that you are missing out on trying new things, broadening your friendship circle and having fun. But it doesn’t seem to worry you at all, so perhaps it’s my problem rather than yours. You are you, a boy who’s done his own thing right from the start.
Happy 10th birthday to my wonderful son, I can’t begin to imagine what the next ten years will hold for you, and I. I’m sure there will be struggles and frustrations as well as lots of great memories to be made. There will be new adventures to be had, and amazing footsteps to take.
I’ll be there, but over the next ten years, I’ll have to learn to step back, let you have more and more control, get used to you not holding my hand and not even wanting to walk with me. I have my own lessons to learn as you continue on your journey into adulthood. We have puberty and the real teenage years to navigate, secondary school and beyond. But for now, let’s just enjoy this special moment of being 10.