Happy birthday to my younger son. You are 14 today!
You’ve been a teenager for a whole year already. And I’m pleased to say that you’re not much of a ‘teenager’ in a bad way, although you have your moments.
You can be quiet a lot of the time, but when something sparks your interest, you really come to life. You absorb so much information about the world around you (a lot of it through YouTube) and are full of enthusiasm for the things you love. Sometimes, when your brother and sister are at each other’s throats (as they so often are), you feel like my one bit of sanity. Calm, caring and intelligent. What more could anyone ask for in a son?
You love two things in life – your phone/ technology and sport. You’re either up the corner of your room, headphones on, with your phone, iPad AND DS in your hand (clever kids are very good at multitasking) or you’re playing sport. The phone is for messaging your friends, which you do constantly, the iPad is for videos and the DS is for Pokemon. Your love of Pokemon hasn’t disappeared this year. Not only do you still play Pokemon Go, but you also play various Pokemon games on the DS too. You’re very good at them and take them very seriously. You explain them to me and I do my best to understand, but a lot of it goes over my head.
And as for sport? Well, you continue to thrive, apart from the achilles injury, which plagues you from time to time. This year you were the top scorer in YOUR LEAGUE at football, which is an amazing achievement. You’re still enjoying rugby with school and playing well, plus you’ve taken on a few more sports this year too. In year 8, you were in the school handball team and got through to the regional finals. You’ve started going to an external athletics club once a week and started playing basketball at school in year 9. It’s hard for me to keep track of, but I think you are currently doing: rugby training twice a week, plus a match; football training once a week, plus a match; basketball training twice a week; and athletics club once a week. Plus three PE/ games lessons a week. It means you are doing sport seven days a week. No wonder you eat so many biscuits.
Just before you turned 13 and a half, you overtook me in height. You are now significantly taller than me and never waste an opportunity to tell me how ‘short’ I am. You look a lot older now. Your face shape has changed in the space of a few months and your shoulders have broadened. But you are very thin right now. You probably need even more of those biscuits.
In year 7, you had lots of friends. You’ve still got lots of friends now, but this year you formed a really strong bond with a fellow sporty boy from your class. He is much bigger than you and loves to tease you about how small and thin you are. You have finally overcome your resistance to having friends round the house – because you didn’t want anyone to see photos of you when you were little(!) – and your friend is here a lot of the time. We’ve joked that maybe we should adopt him.
You and your brother go from being good friends to enemies and back again within the space of minutes. You are lovely to your sister and she adores you. It was so nice to see the two of you spending time together when we were on holiday.
And as for that teenage behaviour? You’ve always been a bit stubborn, but now you’re REALLY STUBBORN. You won’t do anything you want to do – like cleaning the guinea pigs or practising your guitar. Well, you do it eventually, but I’ve usually had to ask about 20 times. I’m not sure why you can’t just do it first time, but I guess there’s always someone to message, a Pokemon to catch or a video to finish watching.
You and I have always had a special bond. You are the only one of our three kids who ever had a favourite parent. It was me. And I still cherish that even now. When you don’t feel like talking, I like the fact that I can usually get a few words out of you. I value our time in the car together driving to school, just the two of us.
It’s hard to believe that in the space of the next year you will have started your GCSE courses. No doubt you will have be playing basketball for the school too!
Happy birthday, my 14 year old boy.