My boy is 17 today!
As if turning 38 the other day didn’t make me feel old, this makes me feel positively ancient. How I have managed to keep another human alive for 17 whole years is beyond me. And hopefully without too many stories to tell his shrink and mostly in one piece. Not bad going considering. We have only ever made three trips to A&E in 17 years of parenting and they have all been with my son. Once for a mangling his foot in the crosstrainer *boak* and twice for breathing difficulties that turned out to be thankfully nothing more serious than a very bad chest infection. Terrifying at the time mind. He has without doubt been the one to keep us on our toes every step of the way. But we have made it. All the way to 17.
I have to confess that the teenage years haven’t been half as bad as I imagined. Don’t get me wrong, we have had our moments. And when parents of teenagers joke about killing their children, they’re not always joking. Trust me on that. But hairy bits aside (and no doubt there will be even hairier times to come yet) I am actually loving where we are right now. The thing about teenagers is that the lows are lower than low but the highs are higher than high and somehow make all the hard bits worth while. I think it’s unfair that teenagers get such a hard time, they’re not all bad. In fact they can be all kinds of awesome. Especially mine.
In the last year I have seen him mature so much and it makes my heart swell with pride. This time last year he was being dragged kicking and screaming through his GCSEs but it all came good in the end. He joined sixth form and made choices that I didn’t necessarily think were the best but it was one of those hard times where I had to let him get on with it. He had a really wobbly start and the last thing he needed to hear was I told you so but he did need an ear to listen to his moans and I gladly gave one. I also doled out gentle sometimes-you-have-to-make-the-best-of-bad-decisions speeches and promised him that decisions made at this age don’t have to dictate the rest of his life. He just has to see this very short time as a means to an end to go on to do whatever it is that he decides to do. And do you know what? He muddled through that sticky start and has completely turned a corner now. His parents’ evening a few weeks ago was outstanding. I mean like jaw droppingly are-you-sure-you-have-the-right-child outstanding. He’s expected to do really well in his upcoming AS Level exams and I really hope he does because he has worked so hard.
I could lament the passing of the years and all those clichés are true about the years disappearing in the blink of an eye. It only feels like yesterday that I was ten days overdue and crying because my pyjamas would no longer fasten and I was quite certain that I was going to be the first woman in history to be pregnant forever. But actually there is something about reaching this point that is really quite exciting. My boy, my gorgeous gorgeous boy is on the cusp of becoming a truly awesome grown up and actually I don’t want to turn back the clock or for it even to stand still. I want to meet the man that he is about to become. Besides, he might be taller than me but he will always be my baby. Happy birthday son.