My darling boy, you’re 13 today. Surprise!
But yeah, you knew that. You’ve been counting down. And to be honest, I’m probably more spun out by the fact that you’re a teenager now than you are.
You should’ve turned 13 a couple of weeks ago, of course. Your due date wasn’t Christmas Eve, but rather, December 13th. You entered this world with the same amount of enthusiasm as you show for getting dressed for school (not a lot).
I nearly lost you, did you know that? After three weeks in labour (alright, two days), you were worn out, and your little heart started to slow down. But the weird thing was, I knew you’d be okay. I knew that as long as I breathed, slow and steady, that you’d breathe, slow and steady. I don’t know how I knew this, but I did. It was the same a decade later, when I nearly lost you again. I just kind of knew that as long as I kept breathing, you would too. And you did. And you will continue to, with your mum beside you.
Because, buddy, I’ve got a bit of bad news for you: I’m going to be right beside you for as long as you need me, and a bit more beyond that. That’s kind of my job. And you know what? You’re going to need me. Because – and you might want to sit down for this – being a teenager sucks. Yes, yes – you can catch the bus on your own now, and text your mates, and come and go to the skatepark whenever you want – but that’s small compensation for the five years or so of studying, self-doubt and spots. I’m sorry, but there it is. Adolescence bites.
There is ONE THING that could help you on your perilous journey through your teenage years, and it’s not Arnott’s Venetian biscuits (sorry not sorry). Mate, it’s me. I can help you – but only if you let me; only if you talk to me. Don’t sweat the small stuff, buddy. Don’t lie in bed worrying about the pickles you’ve inadvertently landed yourself in because you’ve made big promises that you can’t possibly keep (and this will happen, because you’re my son, and we’re both dickheads). Just come and talk it through with me. I won’t say I’ll never laugh, because I probably will. I won’t say that I’ll never get angry, because I probably will. I will say that I’ll always forgive you, and I’ll always love you, and I’ll always help you. Trust me on that one.
Mate, I know the last 13 years haven’t been the easiest. I’ve tried to smooth out the bumps along the way, but I wasn’t always successful. Sometimes I suck at being a mum. Sometimes I’m short tempered and impatient and tired. Okay, most of the time I’m short tempered and impatient and tired.
But buddy – I love you. I loved you from the moment you first had hiccups in my tummy. I loved you from the moment you gave me the finger, seconds after being born. I loved you from your first smile, your first dress-up and the first time you stood on your head to see what the world looked like upside down.
You’re a pain in the arse, Benjamin Thomas – let’s make no mistake about that – but you’re also clever, funny and kind. And you do a wicked volley, even though I’m not entirely sure what a volley is. Is it something to do with a half-pipe? In any case, you’re good at skateboarding, and it makes my heart burst with pride to see you sticking at something and practising and persevering until you get it right. Keep doing that, buddy. Stick at it.
And please, keep talking to me. Tell me the truth, whatever that truth is, and I promise I’ll make everything okay, once I’ve laughed at you and grounded you for a fortnight.
Happy birthday my darling boy. Love from your mum xxxx