16th August 2018

A Letter To My Teenager

Waterfall Adventures in Iceland

Teenager…Teen..a…ger? Ok…one more time, teenager. Nope, still not sunk in that I am officially a parent to an actual real-life teenager. I mean it was only 24 hours ago I was discussing with my sister how many shots and booze cruises we’re going to attempt to handle when we go to Cyprus this summer so quite how I’ve quite managed to raise this amazing boy of mine into one of the kindest, sensitive, emotionally intelligent people I know is beyond me. 😉

So, Coby, in honour of being the most fantastic person I know and for making me so proud, this post is for you.

I actually drafted this post back in April just before your 13th birthday when we’re having our yearly ‘me and you’ trip to Iceland. You’re an amazing travel buddy and spending time with you on my own is one of my most favourite things to do and the memories we’ve made from our little trips will stay with me forever. I never published what I wrote because it was just a bit soppy maybe, not really fitting in to my blog and all my other posts. But today I’ve changed my mind and that’s because I think you’re amazing.

Five Things I Know My Son Needs

Back to 2004…

Driving down the M1 with tears in my eyes, a car full of my belongings and with York fading fast in the wing-mirror I was 100% sure that starting a new life 250 miles away from everything and everyone I knew was going to be the biggest decision I’d ever make.

22 years old, broke, but in love (so I thought) I met your Dad in Ibiza and as much as my Mum, your nanny Kat, was never on board with the crazy decision I’d made, quite uncharacteristically I wanted to leave and forget about everything I knew, and whilst I’m the type of person that doesn’t really have regrets, I knew this was going to be my only moment in life to hit a ‘re-set’ button as such.

Falling pregnant with you 4 months after relocating was planned and people seem shocked by that. Granted I didn’t realise how quickly it would happen, from the moment I was throwing-up at 3 weeks gone I clicked and loved you instantly. I had no fear, no nerves and was filled with pure excitement. Would you be a girl? I hoped so… but what if you were a boy? That seemed bonkers but still, I was excited.

Craving leeks, milk and red apples was a bit odd, watching my tummy grow and constantly freaking out that I had something growing inside me seemed so surreal and whilst I knew that you’d arrive pretty quickly, and my pregnancy would fly by, it never quite sunk in that I would have a person in my life forever.

Unconditionally, you’d always be with me. And I’d always be there for you.

April 2015…

Now, I don’t ever think I’ll totally forgive you for putting me through pure hell for 24 hours, refusing to come out and having an emergency c-section wasn’t that great 😉 but y’know stubbornness is one of your traits and if I had known that then I’d maybe have just totally not bothered with a freaking birthing plan… what a waste of time that was.

Born into this world sucking your thumb, bright red and quiet you were the dream baby. I couldn’t quite believe my luck!

Sleeping through the night at 5 weeks old, never fussing with your food and we’d even have to wake you for a feed, the baby years were the best. I worry now that I’m going to forget about how lovely those days were but having taken so many photos of you I sometimes flick through old albums making sure to remember every moment.

I miss baby Coby so much. Sometimes it hurts a little as I often crave those days where you needed me to do everything for you. Growing up is exciting but it’s also hard and I’ve noticed that you’re also freaking out occasionally about it too. One thing I do know and can’t wait to see, is the adult you turn in to as I just know that you’re going to do something amazing and I’m calling this now… but I’m pretty sure you’re going to end up choosing a career working and helping people in some way.

You’re kind…

I say that as I’ve noticed more and more lately how switched on you are to people’s emotions. Family, friends and strangers all benefit from your kindness and sensitivity. I’ll never forgot when my Mum, your nanny, called me after she’d taken you to the beach for the day and repeated a story about how you’d helped a little old lady into her car and helped her husband put the shopping in the boot. My heart melted.

Festival of Food and Wine, Ascot Racecourse

There’s that time where a boy a few years younger than you fell off his bike outside our house and you ran out with a pillow for him, knew to keep him still, calm and called an ambulance at the same time. That was just fricken amazing and my eyes are welling up now because I’m so incredibly proud of you.

You’re loud, but funny and entertaining. You’re slightly annoying when you get a laugh from telling a joke, but then we’ll hear that same joke for the next week. And don’t get me started on that attitude problem that sneaks in every now and again, but I’ll always forgive you because I know it’s mostly hormonal and all the amazing things you are make up for it.

Polite (most of the time), handsome, respectful to your friends, elders, strangers and family I’m 100% sure you’ll never be short of admiration from anyone that is lucky enough to have you in their lives. The teachers at school have always said you’re a credit to the class, you’re popular and you surprise them with you humour… but let’s not forget that you do talk too much sometimes too.

My favourite Junior School Memory…

Remember Mr Vernon from junior school? I do. Let me remind you about this story, just in case you do forget and just in case we come back to read this post in 2… 5 or even 10 years’ time. It’s a keeper. What you did on this school trip was something you should be proud of for the rest of your life.

Anyway, Mr Vernon was losing his sight after having received a very sad diagnosis about an illness he’d been suffering from. Going away on your first residential for the 3 days away from home was super exciting for you but Mr Vernon was struggling to keep up and take part in the outdoor activities and you chose to let your friends go on ahead and stay with him. You guided him through fields, over fences, through the forest and not only did you help him through he told me how you’d described everything going on around you both too. What the colours of the trees were like, what animals were around right down to what you could see in the distance.

When he called me to share this I was bursting with pride. So much so I had no words for what I was feeling and knew how happy you’d be that you were going to receive a big applause at assembly the next day with a surprise pizza lunch for you and some friends.

I remember when you came home that day and just shrugged your shoulders and smiled when I told you I’d heard about what happened. I realised then that what you did for Mr.Vernon came naturally to you, and you’d do that for anyone. That’s what makes you the best person I know.

We’ve struggled too…

Times weren’t always easy, they never are. As much as I protected you from the breakup of mine and your Dads relationship when you were just three years old, you were confused but quickly adapted when you realised we both loved you no less, maybe even more so because not matter how much we weren’t right for each other, ultimately we knew that you were the one thing we did get right.

Living on our own was hilarious! We had our routines and on the weekends you went to your Dad’s I pined for you so much. Seeing you start junior school, ride your bike, love your new step-sister when I met Steve, but also adoring your new brother when your dad met your step-mum, was just another way for you to share the vast amount of love you have to give.

A Letter To My Teenager

Senior school, if I’m totally honest has been the scariest part of your existence so far. You changed at once into a mouthier, more confident mini-adult and whilst your sensitive side does still come through, and your kind words occasionally re-appear, there’s a side of you striving to stand out and be your own person. Make yourself known and I can tell how much you want to fit in. Which you do. I’ve seen your friends around you, I’ve seen you around them. I’ve sneakily listened to conversations, shouted when I heard you swear once (not cool) and I’ve admired the way you handle certain situations.

You’ve made mistakes, don’t we all, but you’ve apologised and not repeated the same mistake twice. We still argue about homework, but it always gets done in the end.

Senior School…

We’re heading into Year 9 this September, your GCSE’s have began, and I really hope that you’ve chosen subjects that are going to interest you, motivate you and keep you going through these next couple of years. I know they’re not going to all smooth running, I’d be naive to think otherwise!

But we’re a team. A team in our own special way and you have an amazing support network. I’m sure you realise how lucky you are in this regard.

I nag, I repeatedly ask you to pick your flipping dishes up, move those dirty socks, make you brush your teeth! But all I ask is that you remember I do these things because I love you, not because I want to make your life difficult. Be patient, and I’ll be patient with you too. Being a mum to a teenage son is no easy task, every choice I make is because I’m doing the best I can and this is a learning curve for me too. I’ve never done this before either remember. When you’re scared, I’m more scared!

One day you’ll thank me. Your’e going to be smarter then me and more successful than I can ever hope, and when you look back I know you’ll be grateful for everything we all do for you.

Until then, remember Coby, you’re the best son I could have ever wished for. Even when you challenge me. You’re the reason I work as hard as I do and I love you.

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