I was making breakfast the other morning when you were not yet 6 and just as the eggs started to boil in the pot you walked out of your bedroom.
Your hair was standing on end, and your eyes were still not quite open properly as I heard you shuffle up behind me. When I turned around I did a double take, suddenly you looked so much taller and more grown up than when you went to bed.
Your face split into a smile, and the way you held Rat at your side made me feel as if we were only just hanging on to this little boy…. You are a twilight zone age right now. On the verge of being big. Sometimes you say surprisingly wise and mature things to me and I get a glimpse of the guy you’ll be.
We were talking about big boys recently, teenage boys to be precise and I said that sometimes big boys don’t feel close to their mummies anymore. Sometimes they don’t feel like they can talk to them anymore. Sometimes they don’t want to have cuddles and kisses anymore, even when they feel sad.
You said you didn’t ever want to be a big boy if that happened and my I felt a little crack inside my chest. I’m not sure if my heart got so big it cracked a little or if it broke a little at your divine sweetness plus the knowledge that even though neither of us wanted it may happen one day anyway.
You turned six two days ago. 6.
Obviously, you’ve had major growth and developmental periods in your life, but none as rapid as this last three months.
When you started school I sent away my boy, my son, and within weeks I could see you starting to change. You’re becoming more yours and less mine as you navigate the jungle of the schoolyard hierarchy.
After a couple of years of showing little interest in learning letters, you’re suddenly thirsty for the alphabet. Every word gets broken down into sounds and every game involves letters. You’re actually reading words on boxes and packets and devouring your readers. I’m proud and amazed, not because I didn’t think you would learn but at how fast it’s happening. I’m trying to be patient when I’m tired and help you gently with your homework but sometimes I’m a bit of a jerk when you can’t remember a word we did just a minute ago.
You’re also learning important human lessons. You’re learning boundaries, sometimes the easy way, often the harder way, but we usually hug it out and love each other fiercely and get on with it again in a few minutes.
For a couple of years, I’ve been trying to teach you commerce. When you wanted to buy something I’d offer you the money and suggest you go to the counter yourself. You would never do it.
You were too shy, but man, in the second week of school you mastered the school canteen.
Your desire for a $1 Zooper Dooper was greater than your fear of the canteen lady’s bingo wings and soon you were raiding your money box daily until I caught wind of it and threatened to rat you out to the canteen boss. Now you go once a week. Unless you’ve finally become a good liar. I’ll believe the former for the moment.
I know sometimes life is confusing and I’d love to tell you it will get better but it won’t really. There’s always confusing stuff, and that’s ok. We can work through the confusing stuff together and know that I always have your best interests at heart even if I don’t always get it right.
You are fearless in some ways but still timid in others. You’ll climb something really high and fling yourself off without a second thought for shattered legs in wheelchairs, unlike me, but then sometimes you’ll be shy about high-fiving one of my friend’s as they depart.
Keep your sense of humour, kid. You are very funny, and your quick cheeky laugh and broad smile will serve you well. Life needs a good sense of humour.
I write less and less about you these days because I’m more aware than ever that your stories are more yours than mine now. And now that you can nearly read I’ve realised my days of taking the piss out you are numbered.
Happy birthday, D Man. My heart beats for you and I couldn’t be more proud, well, unless you invented something really awesome and I never had to work again, but there’s still time.