Today my son is 17 years old. He is now old enough to do many things including start driving – proper cars, not just the little ones with pedals (it did make what to get for his birthday easy – those lessons are booked).
Unlike most other years I am having a quiet day, we are having the usual birthday BBQ next weekend - which is actually just as well given today’s torrential rain. So while he’s off with his girlfriend I am indulging in a little maternal reflection. I am somewhat surprised (how CAN he be so old?), a little apprehensive (he’s going to be going out into the big wide world on his own so soon?) and a lot proud.
Of course he isn’t perfect, who is, but I am so proud of the thoughtful, good humoured, kind, rounded young man he’s growing into. We disagree on things, we have arguments, but we talk a lot, we laugh together and he still surprises me at times.
Last week, like many others, his AS level results were not what had been expected or predicted by the school (thanks Mr Gove). After the upset he decided to start the courses all again, retake the whole year, knowing that he wants to do better and knowing the career he wants in the future will be affected. This is the first time he has had any issues with schools and exams (I know, I’ve been a lucky mum!) but he handled the disappointment and decision making with a mature positive attitude.
After a trip to Edinburgh this week he brought me back presents including Edinburgh Rock – and had made sure it was vegan. And a pencil in my favourite colour purple. And a coaster with a campervan on it because he knows that I really want one (we often discuss my dream of travelling round Europe in one)!
Despite our sometimes heated debates about social inequality, when we were on holiday recently he stopped to give a homeless person sitting with his dog some money. I couldn’t stop myself giving him a hug for it.
He has a great group of friends, a lovely long term girlfriend who’s family adore him, he knows what he wants to do and where he wants to be. I smiled so much when a few weeks ago, unprompted and out of the blue, he declared how happy he was and how much he loved his life.
And that is all a parent can ever want to hear.
Happy birthday baby boy!
The Ferrari I got him for his birthday...