Happy 18th Birthday – a letter to my son

Happy 18th birthday darling

You find me in a little shock that I have managed to do well enough to even get you to 18 years old. It has been a bumpy old ride but one I am so glad we took together.

Firstly, it is important to say how very much wanted you were. Having never wanted children, I suddenly became fiercely broody and really struggled when your older sister and your Dad’s nephew and his wife brought their babies to see us. In my usual way, I determined to have a baby and although it took only about 6 weeks for us to conceive, I got furious when it did not work first time as it were. I know way too much information!

You Dad was kind enough to let us go forward and have a family even though he already had 4 daughters. So I was very pleased when you were a boy as it made you that bit different.

Your grandparents had waited so many years for a grandchild. I think they had just about given up. We were not actually in touch when I became pregnant. I can’t even remember the details now but I do know that as soon as I told them about you, everything was forgotten and we entered an immensely happy period.

They used to come and look after you travelling miles and miles to do so every week and staying over. It was not long before they left their home town so they could be absolutely on hand for you and you know how well they did that.  Because yes your mad mother has applied for a new managerial job when she was about 8 months pregnant. I have worked out far too late in the day that a lot of my emotional struggles comes from expecting way too much of myself.

So it makes sense, that I now need to say how very sorry I am for all the bad times I have given you. I would have liked to have given you more material things over  the years but then again,  perhaps you value things more because you know sometimes we had to work so hard for them. I think I was a great mum briefly but of course it was easy with you because your amazing grandparents would hand you over every evening fed, bathed and entertained.

You also had a babysitter for back up called Zoe who was younger than you are now. She took her role so seriously taking you to feed ducks and keeping you warm and happy. I remember my first real sadness around you was when you had done a painting on her watch instead of mine. It was me who saw you walk for the first time thankfully.

You were to a Montessori nursery which cost a fortune but gave you such a magical start to life as it was based in a huge old house with amazing walled gardens. I remember your lovely red and yellow uniform. It was good to give my parents a bit of a break too as you got harder to handle as you started to run off. You walked at 11 months and just always wanted to hurtle off to explore things. My parents were well into their Seventies – they were miracle workers but I think you know that.

We know what happened next. I had your sister and hurtled into post-natal depression and it still had not cleared by the time I had your little brother. In fact, it took a decade or so to shift completely if you ask me. So I was often down, irritable and angry and this was not your fault and not at all what you deserved. I wish someone had seen what was happening and got me some support but that did not happen.

Even in this bleak period, there are so many happy memories of you. In many ways you got me through it all. You still do although the clouds have lifted now and I have happiness every day. That does not mean I am 100 per cent happy but I am learning to realise that few people achieve that and it is vital to gaze in the direction of the things that are going well.

As for the practical side of parenting,  I have never really done it well. I find it all a bit overwhelming in terms of bath-time, bed-time, laundry and housework. You are 18 so your brother would say I must have done well enough to create a man.

As a barely good enough mum or maybe I am but that perfectionist drive is still within me, I am very proud that I have instilled the best of values into you. You treat all genders, ages and sexualities with kindness. You stand up for others even when you place yourself under threat by doing so. I am delighted you are well on the Left when it comes to politics and also know I told you all to make up your own minds on these matters. Your love of history is great as your grandma encouraged this in me and then in you. And perhaps not  surprisingly with an opera singer for an uncle and another uncle who had charisma and acting talent to die for, you have picked up an interest in acting and the theatre.

You look so like me. People comment on that often as you have the brown eyes but also the mad wavy hair. You are definitely tall, dark and handsome but you have no idea of course. You are popular with your peers and with anyone who meets you. Nobody has ever said a bad word about you to be honest. People are always super-impressed. All I want for you now is for you to become super-impressed with yourself. That will come with time and experience. Just do one thing for your Mum – do everything you can to make it happen way earlier than I did.

Soon you will be leaving home and I think for now that is probably good for both of us. You will always be welcome wherever I am but I acknowledge that you need to make your own way in the world. Letting go is part of being that barely good enough or perhaps absolutely fine and just human mum.

I got lucky and I love you.

I am looking forward and excited about your next chapter.


Linking to http://www.reflectionsfromme.com/will-you-be-having-a-lagom-christmas-a-blogging-good-time-111/


Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

Twin Mummy and Daddy
Post Comment Love
The Ordinary Moments
Musings Of A Tired Mummy
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Confessions of a New Mummy

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22 thoughts on “Happy 18th Birthday – a letter to my son”

  1. It’s a lovely tribute Kate, I have no doubt that he is as glad to have you as his mum and you so clearly are to have him as your son! #blogcrush

  2. Happy Birthday to your son. I can remember feeling much the same when my eldest reached 18, had I done enough, was I a good enough Mum etc. I think the fact that your son is well loved by everyone is a complete credit to you, so yes, you have done a fabulous job x

  3. Know ye them by their works! If your son is like you say he is then you have done an amazing job. So be proud. And happy birthday to your perfect young gentleman! #BloggerClubUK

  4. Ah Kate this is lovely !! I think your son sounds like a treasure and that’s down to you !!My eldest turned 18 in the summer and It’s such a strange feeling to have raised that small teeny baby to an actual grown up!! #blogcrush

  5. Such a beautiful letter, has he read it? Wishing your son a very Happy Birthday. I can’t bear the thought of mine being that old! Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales.

  6. I’ve taken two things from your letter to your son, the first being the love you have for him. He’s a lucky boy. Secondly, I think you’re a little too hard on yourself. You’re doing a great job. Thanks for linking up #twinklytuesday x

  7. That is really beautiful! My oldest will be 18 next year. He just turned 17 this past week, and I suffered from PTSD through most of his life. He was and still is my angel though. Happy Birthday to your wonderful son! #AnythingGoes

  8. What a lovely heartfelt letter. The time just flies with kids, our oldest will be 12 in a few months and I just don’t know where the years went. Letting them go at 18 to start their own life must be challenging. Thanks for joining us at #BloggerClubUK 🙂

  9. I’ve been pondering this week, as my nephew has turned 18 and has withdrawn a lot from his mum who he was always so close too, but I believe he will come back around as he has a kind heart. It makes me think of Aspen, in 3 and a half years she will be 18, in Australia that is when they can legally, vote, drive, buy and dink alcohol and school finishes. It is a lot to happen all at once and I know it’ll fly by. I keep questioning am I doing enough. It sounds like you have had some highs and lows, but one thing that shines is your love! And I know in the end to do the best I can do is just to love and watch her blossom. Thank you for sharing this letter, it is beautiful and honest! Thanks so much for linking up with #ABloggingGoodTime

  10. Happy birthday to your young man – it sounds as though he is quite a good person and you did an amazing momma-job, despite the lows that came. Be proud of every moment and know you put a good person on this planet, that is in need of good people. Mazel Tov! #ablogginggoodtime xo

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