My son turned 18 yesterday.
Such a momentous birthday and I don’t seem to be able to find the right words to describe quite how it feels to have raised a child to adulthood.
The truth is, that all birthdays feel pretty momentous when it comes to your own children. Over the years I have found every one of their birthdays so incredibly emotional and sometimes even bittersweet. For as happy as you are to see them reach a new milestone, you can’t sometimes help but mourn the passing of the years. The truth is that the most important birthday of them all (for me at least) is their birth day. There isn’t a birthday that has gone by where I haven’t thought ‘This time x number of years ago..’ and none more so than yesterday.
I can’t always remember if I turned the dishwasher on or if I posted that letter that has been sat there since last week but I can tell you exactly what I was doing eighteen years ago yesterday. That day will be forever etched in my mind. Friday 24th April 1998. At 21:17 my life changed forever and all for the better. I never really knew what life meant until that tiny little boy came into the world. In that instant, I was overwhelmed with a love so fierce. So complete and unconditional. A love that has never wavered, only ever grown.
I remember after he was born, it was quite late before I could be moved up to the maternity ward so I was put in a private side room so I didn’t disturb anyone. Mr Mostly was soon shooed home by a very bossy midwife and it was just me and my boy. He slept away in his little fish tank crib and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Right there, right then, everything clicked into place and suddenly my whole life meant sense. This tiny snuffling bundle of love was the meaning of life.
Yesterday, we couldn’t resist pulling out all the old photographs. Of course, he was one of the last babies to be born into a pre-digital era. Mobile phones could barely text let alone take a photograph in 1998. The photos we had were taken on a camera using a film and printed off at Boots and after a one week wait, I would collect my prints and painstakingly write the dates on the back before putting them into album after album. We don’t actually get the old photos out very often but it’s so lovely when we do and yesterday seemed like the perfect day. Hours we all spent poring over them it was such a lovely wander down memory lane.
His first bath, first teeth, sitting for the first time, and crawling. First birthday, first steps, meeting his new sister for the first time. All of those precious moments were there tucked away in those chests of photo albums. That tiny snuffly baby soon became the death wish toddler who would climb up anything that stayed still long enough before falling to great heights. I basically spent the toddler years trying to stop him from killing himself. If there was trouble to be found, he’d find it. I used to think that it was just a boy thing, but actually I think it was just a him thing.Ha!
The primary school years weren’t much better but with more Action Men being launched out of windows and footballs breaking flower pots. It’s so hard to believe that little boy who used to cry about being the smallest in his class now towers over me at over six foot. The teenage years haven’t been half as bad as I thought although there have been some pretty hairy moments that have kept us on our toes. I’m sure we’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way (in fact I know we have) but nothing that we haven’t been able to fix and learn from. In all honesty, the last eighteen years have been mostly a blast and I don’t think I’d change them for the world.
He’s a good egg that boy.
I couldn’t be prouder to call him my son.