As the parent of a child who loathes Parties I have come to expect that my eldest would not want me to hire a hall and invite a crowd of children to engage in lots of noisy games. This year his actual birthday fell on the day we go to Forest School, he wanted to go to that but asked if he could also go birdwatching and meet up with his best friend. What we ended up with were three days of 'celebrations'. The birdwatching was fantastic we visited a local RSPB reserve, the birthday boy really wanted to see Bitterns and Bearded Tits but it seems that neither were willing to come out of their hiding places even for a birthday but we did see an Otter swimming and a Kingfisher fishing, not bad really!
Ten seems like a big milestone for me I can remember being ten myself, memories that are strong and vivid. Double digits. Is that really significant given that most of us remain in double digits for the rest of our lives? It feels like I have been a parent for ages, but yet it seems to be yesterday that he was born.
Ten years he has been guiding me, holding my hand on this most difficult of journeys being a parent. As a first born you are always forging the way, I am a first born too, as is my mother. I know I get it wrong, often. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your patience and understanding which you have in bucket loads. I read what I wrote last year and so much of that is still true but yet changed.
You stand back and wait, never rushing in. Pausing and thoughtful. When you are ready you will engage, but in your own way. Somehow you always make that fit into what is happening even if it is not quite the same as everyone else. It works they let you in, you have subtly shifted things without anyone really noticing.
You have made bread this year. First with friends and then just you and me in our kitchen. I never, never thought I would see that day. You hate that kind of activity always have. I thought my heart would burst when I watched you for the first time, slowly (as is your way) engaging with the dough. Checking it out. Pressing and touching.
It has been a hard year for you this one. Your beloved grandfather died not long before your ninth birthday. You miss him greatly and we talk about him often. You want to keep his memory alive. You have been asking many questions about him and his life before you were born.
You have started to write. Not long stories but writing nonetheless. I knew you would when you were ready and ready you are now. We are taking it slow. I don't want to put you off. You are compiling a book of memories of your grandfather, word by word, page by page. I hope that you can make friends of writing and not be put off it like so many boys seem to be.
We have read many books together, I love that you still love me to read to you. I have introduced you to poetry and you love them, listening for the moment the best way to engage with them in my book. Your books are still strewn here, there and everywhere a trail of where you have been sat reading.
You are kind, thoughtful and generous
Happy Birthday my love