Dear Darling T,
Today is a normal Friday in our life as a family of three. Daddy and I got you ready for school and I walked you down the road to wait for the school bell.
Today you are five 'and a half' (as you like to point out) and as I held your warm little hand tightly across the road I was suddenly struck by a thought that one day these normal mornings, that at times can feel hectic and repetitive, will no longer exist.
Of course there are still many times when you will want me to hold your hand; when you hurt yourself, when you succeed or even when you fail, but those times are finite and one day soon you will no longer need me in the same way.
With that in mind I decided to write you a letter about the boy you are right this very minute, in the hope that you can laugh and smile at the memories it evokes when you read it as a grown man.
Whether I give this letter to you at 18, 21, before you get married or before you have a child of your own, if I am still around, I want you now to hold my hand and give me a hug, because even though you might have stopped needing me in that way, I will always, always, love to hold you tight, even if it's just for a moment.
I want to start this letter with the honest truth and by apologising for all the times we have been less than perfect parents.
I found the baby years the hardest. The crying (me and you!), the sleepless nights and the slavish routines, it was a difficult time for us all. I can see now looking back that you have always been you – cheeky, feisty and eager to learn but when you were tiny it was hard for you to communicate to us what you needed or wanted without tears.
All I can say about those early years and even now when I lose my temper or snap at you to 'say please!' or 'find your own shoes!' is that I too am just me and as well as a mum trying my best to support you and meet your needs, I am also a short fused, busy, impatient woman learning as I go.
Let me now tell you a little about yourself at 'five and a half'…
You love Star Wars, superheroes, swimming and seals. You like finding people you are older than, water fights, sword fights, spaceships, nature programs, Angry Birds and mainly anything and everything Star Wars.
You spend a vast amount of time zooming imaginary space ships around. Any object can be manipulated to be a space vehicle, a fork, a piece of lego, a stick, a pen or just your entire body. I currently carry at least three mini plastic Star Wars ships in my handbag and they are guaranteed to help me out in a long queue at the shops or waiting for a coffee.
You love anything about bums, poos, wees or willies and you have crafted whole verses about our most basic bodily functions, often shouted loudly in restaurants while dancing and showing off and making us giggle.
You are lucky to have a big and loving extended family and it doesn't matter if we see them infrequently (especially my side in the UK), you like to bring them into conversation and talk about their various likes, dislikes and fun joint memories. Going on the ferry with Grandad Peter and Granny Annie or Ginny and Geoff's vegetable growing prowess.
You may not have any siblings but your cousins have a very special place in your life and your heart. While younger kids are often 'yuck' or 'annoying', this rule does not apply to cousins who are of course in an entirely different category.
Every night before you go to bed, dad and I enjoy reading you stories and you have always loved to listen and ask a hundred questions.
While we move to and fro from much loved short picture books like The Gruffalo, Meg and Mog or Grug, we are now reading chapter books with one chapter per night. How much I have loved revisiting Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl all over again and at the moment we are racing through the very wonderful BFG with all of its hilarious whizzpopping and disgusting child-crunching giants.
Once you are settled in bed you like me to sing you a made up song about Yoda or Obi Wan Kenobi and stroke you on the back with one of your seal soft toys. You often call dad and I back in for 'one last kiss' or to ask us something very important like 'what are we doing next Sunday?'
You are not perfectly behaved and sometimes you drive us mad with prodding the cats (Duke and Smudge), interrupting the conversation or getting upset because your birthday is not for 11 months, but your sense of humour, wide smile and curious nature always, always wins us over.
So my dearest T, if you are now reading this as a fully-grown adult, I hope so much you can forgive us for our rookie mistakes, our impatience and our occasional misunderstandings along the way.
I hope that aside from our parenting fails, we managed to guide you in the right direction so that although you will undoubtedly have faults, I hope that you are now a good man, a good friend, respectful of others and happy in yourself.
Know that as I watch you learn to read or ride your bike today, I am full of pride for the boy that you are now and I am full of hope for the man you are yet to become.
Go well, be strong, be kind and I hope you always smile as much as you do now.
I love you very much my darling boy.
Your Mum x
P.s. Now where's my hug?