A letter to my son on his 8th birthday
You were born 4 days late, on the day of the Grand National and the wedding of Charles and Camilla. Someone thought it would be a good idea if we had one of those royal family commemorative plates to mark the occasion and, whilst it’s far too hideous to take out of the box, one day you’ll inherit this treasure.
You were big – 8 lb 7 oz – and you were gorgeous (in a covered in green poo kind of way). The first night you slept right through and even though I was exhausted from a long labour, I kept waking up every hour just to check you were still breathing. I continued to check on you every night until you were about 2, when I let myself give in to the fact that you were just fine on your own.
Your smile was, and still is, the kind that lights up your whole face and takes my breath away. Your eyes sparkle and then squint up and your cheeks turn into little rosy apples. Somehow your thick blonde hair grew straight up and out instead of down, which made you look like you had just touched one of those static electricity balls at the science centre. When we took you to Italy for a friend’s wedding your cherubic figure was admired by all the mothers and those plump cheeks were pinched endlessly.
You were an easy baby, only crying when you were hungry or tired – not that much different from now in fact. I honestly don’t know how 8 years can pass so quickly. From newborn to toddler to pre-schooler to Year 3 – each birthday, formative event and accomplishment marked and celebrated. Only memories and photos remain of those precious moments.
You’ve experienced a lot in your little lifetime – a divorce, a new family, a remarriage. Sometimes when you’re pensive I wonder what you’re thinking. I hope you know how much you’re loved by everyone around you. I hope you feel secure and confident. I hope you continue, as you’ve done so far, to grow into a respectful, thoughtful and loving young man.
Life takes us down unexpected paths, some of which are full of twists and turns, but we have managed to navigate this life together. You are my constant and I am yours. Thank you for putting your trust in me and for loving me like you do. I’m not sure if you’ll ever know how much that means to me.
8 years ago today I was lucky enough to be handed my very own treasure. My biggest hope of all is that you’ll always feel that I was deserving of you.
Happy birthday darling,