So there is likely to follow an unashamedly schmaltzy and over the top piece about my son. I am allowed. Just this once.
Soon my first born son turns 14. In fact next Tuesday.
So what can I say about Eldest?
That he is becoming a lovely young man. Standing nearly six feet tall. Strong and handsome. And that this is hard to believe. It seems like yesterday that he was a babe in my arms. A 14 month old learning to walk with a sock in his mouth. A toddler with a sturdy, determined gait caring for his new brother. A pre schooler quiet and shy. A small boy learning to ride a bike and play football, playing his first notes on the piano, making friends, learning to read and write. A ten year old struck down by appendicitis. A young man changing schools and bravely starting over.
That he is empathic and friendly, unhappy when anyone is left out, able to get along with different ‘sets’ of friends.
That despite the onslaught of hormones and puberty he has on the whole remained respectful and kind and fun to spend time with.
That he is still a mummy’s boy. Happy to have a kiss goodbye (surreptitiously) in the school car park. Snuggle on the sofa and accept bedtime hugs.
That he likes Vera. And Batman. And Arrow. And will bore to death anyone who happens to be in ear shot about Marvel films.
That he is a fiercely loyal sibling. Despite the usual fracas and bickering underneath he ‘gets’ his brother and sister. He coaches his sister in football. Wrestles with his brother. Bosses them around far too much. Loves them.
That he loves history. Has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the World Wars. Likes museums and art galleries.
That he is a dedicated and talented musician. Playing the cello with feeling and passion. Practising every day to meet his own very high standards. Playing in groups and performing in shows despite crippling nerves.
That he is his own worst critic. Nothing is ever ‘good enough’.
That he has always been the inventor of games and the ringleader in playtime. From home made trebuchets, to duvet surfing, to extreme hot wheels.
That he reminds me of me.
That he likes to cook. Although time does not allow this as much as it should. That we still laugh about the carrot and orange soup and the lemon ‘flop’ meringue pie.
That he has an amazing work ethic. In every area of life. Always tries his best. Listens and learns.
That he is an artist. With creative ideas and talent to match. Taking himself upstairs to draw and producing art to be proud of.
That he takes perceived criticism much too much to heart and forgets all the praise and accolades and prizes.
That he is a team player. Loving his rugby and hockey. Working hard to get onto and stay in the team. Not a monopoliser of the limelight. But quietly doing his bit. A vital team member.
That he always notices. My new hair cut. New clothes. That he will call and chat to his grandma with love and affection. That he makes you feel appreciated. That he buys thoughtful gifts (except for that sabre toothed tiger).
That, although serious and on occasion earnest, he can be silly and loud and exuberant. Not as much as I would like. That when he smiles the sun comes out.
That he has always been an eating machine. And that recently he has found the turbo button.
That he loves the outdoors. Camping and cycling and Scouting and mud. Can map read (ish), start fires, hike, orienteer, climb. That he is adventurous; facing his fears after a thorough risk assessment of course.
That he worries too much. About making the grade. Being good enough. Hitting some ‘ideal’ of what achievement is about. Driving himself to extremes.
When really he has always been better than good enough. He has always been amazing. And always will be.
Love you son. Just as you are.