Sweetbriar Dreams

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Sunday, 16 February 2014

16 Years of Parenthood

I don't want to harp on about the weather here, but it really has been truly terrible.  Floods and high winds carry on attacking our shores and inland.  The ditches around Lincolnshire are getting higher and higher and the winds stronger and stronger.  Friday night I had no sleep whatsoever as I am openly terrified of high winds.  Damaging and uncharitable weather that has me shaking and anxious.  Friday night I listened as I could hear the tiles on the roof shaking as the extreme gusts hit the house.  On the news I watched the evening's terror unfold.  Mother Nature showing her strength once again.
Oh well, there is always a silver lining as I needed to be up early anyway to prepare for a very special day for Mr Teenager... his 16th birthday!  Balloons...
... wrapping...
... parcels...
... all the planning put together and a son deeply happy and appreciative.

As well as this being Mr T's birthday, it also marks a milestone in my life of being a mum for sixteen years.  I can remember all those years ago buying book after book and listening to any snippets of advice on how to be the perfect mother.  Do I continue working? Do I give work up and concentrate on being a mother? What do I feed him?  Should we move closer to a more populated town (lived in a hamlet at the time)?...  So many questions.  The answers were of course, what ever suits you and your family best, but this is in hindsight now which you can't really put in a book.  One piece of advice that was true which everyone told me, was that you must embrace the early years as they are gone in a flash'.  Each year has brought different challenges, but each episode has bloomed into the next episode of his life.
This little shoot of life was born two weeks late.  Blonde, blue eyed and healthy, we were truly blessed.
As a toddler he was very inquisitive and had a memory that soaked everything up like a sponge.  He loved nature and his surroundings as we were living at the cottage at the time with its four thatched cottages and protected countryside.  His walks were full of wildlife and rolling Essex hills and valleys, and he was loved by neighbours who had been there for decades.  A new life in this beautiful hamlet stuck in time.
The years continued and things in our lives changed but Mr Teen started flourishing and became his own little person.  Starting school, making new friends, learning patience, toleration and also change.
Some changes had to be made when his love and attitude to life were being eaten away.  To see this positive and happy little boy gradually decline into anxiety and sadness was extremely hard.  It was time to change schools to a more nurturing and happy one where teachers were more respectful to their pupils.
Almost instantly the spark returned. The pages of knowledge of the various teachers through the years made him flourish once again, nurturing his love of life with the support of us as parents.
Sixteen years of parenting has had its trials and tribulations but for all of these years I have loved every single moment of watching this baby grow into a man.  He is his own person, his own opinions.  He is always so pleasant and polite and will be the first one to help anyone out.  Yes he can still have a 'tantrum' but usually because he is right and will finish it with 'come on mum, give us a hug'.  He is the 'better man'.
And so, 16, and now on the next journey of his life... College!  Last week he made me nearly scream out in the College car park when he was given a conditional offer for a course he wants to do when he leaves school in a couple of months.  The offer showed just how much he has learned with the help of his parents and teachers because he was being accepted on a level higher than he went in for.  I am so proud of him!
So, what have I learned over the last sixteen years?  Go with your gut feeling and not to copy others unless it suits you.  Encourage your children to be an individual and go against the peer pressure, this makes them stronger and able to form their own opinions.  Find the things that they love to do and nurture them.  Love them and believe in them and the rest comes easy.  There are no books that can teach you that, just time gradually imparting your experienced advice to the younger layers of your gene pool.
As I look outside with the quiet weather that has just returned and the sunshine on the grass again, I think about what the next sixteen years will bring.  His first job? A wedding? Grandchildren?... Another chapter of the book of life.
Well with the sunshine making a brief appearance, I will now take a look at the damage that the wind has left behind.  My thoughts are with those of you who are having the most dreadful of winters no matter where you are.  And those enjoying the rays of sun, please send them on the jet stream to blow this way!

Take care.

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  1. Congratulations, Mr T !
    As someone who was awoken at 4 o'clock the other morning by a wheelie-bin grand prix taking place in the street outside, I will also be glad to see the last of the wind. Enjoy what's left of the weekend.

  2. Happy Birthday, Mr. T! Even though I turned 16 a few years ago, I grew closer to my Mom that year, and have remained quite close. Even today, she's my #1 go-to person! -Autumn

  3. I saw on our national news, a report on the horrible weather you are having! Scary.
    Happy birthday to your son and congrats to you on a patenting milestone :-)

  4. Happy Birthday Mr T . They grow up fast our kids are now 25, 20 , and 18 and all off living their lives oh how fast they grow lol . The weather is out of whack everywhere seems like . Lovely photos . I hope the rains stop and give all a break and a bit of a dry up there ! Thanks for sharing . Have a good week !

  5. How lovely you were able to get some sunny photos in all that awful weather the UK is having. I'm visiting from Sunlit Sunday.

  6. Happy Birthday to your precious Mr. T! Such beautiful words you wrote about him...:) My son made a late appearance in the world too at 2 1/2 weeks overdue! I think he would have still been there if I hadn't decided on another c-section for his delivery...lol! Sounds lime you have much to be proud of! Have a blessed Sunday with your beautiful family.....and prayers for better weather soon!
    Blessings, Vicky

  7. A beautiful post....Happy Birthday to your son!

  8. What a beautiful post (accompanied by beautiful photos!). Happy Birthday to Mr. Teen. Kids are all so different that so often the books don't do us much good except to make us worry. :-)

    Hope that horrid weather in the UK settles down pretty soon. We're so self-centered over here that we rarely hear about what's happening there. I do watch the BBC news and know that you've had terrible storms and flooding. Heartbreaking to see so much damage.

  9. Hello, Chel

    I trust your son will read your post and feel his heart expand even more with the love you have for him and your pride in the man he is becoming before your eyes. Happy Birthday to him and congratulations as well as he moves on to new educational pursuits.

    The images you've shared at Sunlit Sunday meld so beautifully with stories of your sons growth and love of nature; may her influence be more gentle this week than it has been of late in your area.


  10. Hello, Chel. It's so nice to meet you via your sweet comments on my Winter Picnic post, and your following me on Pinterest. Thank you for both kind deeds! Am following you back on Pinterest, and will be your newest blog follower as soon as I finish this comment. Following for the very simple reason that your post about your son's birth and upcoming birthday is so very sweet and tender. I absolutely love the correlation between your pictures and the stages of his life. Wonderfully insightful and touching. My best wishes to your son for a happy 16th, and to you, as the "mum" as you say :) who brought him into this warm and wonderful family. ~Zuni

  11. Chel, happy belated birthday to your son! It is amazing how fast they grow and time seems to fly. You deserve to be very proud your Mr Teen, he sounds like an outstanding young man! I hope your weather is better now! I am looking forward to spring, sunshine and flowers. Have a happy day and week ahead!

  12. I remember those days with a 16 year old - fond memories. I hope England gets some relief from the flooding soon.

  13. Oh Chel I just loved reading this post. I wish every parent to be could see it and realise that they should trust themselves and their hearts. It was wonderful to read how your son's developed and coped with the things that life has thrown at him. I hope he had a great 16th birthday, he certainly deserved it. Thinking of you also with all that wind and rain, we have been really lucky in the North West to avoid the worst. Take care.
    Ali x

  14. Congrats to your son, it's such a bittersweet age, so young, and yet they feel so old.

    That weather has got to leave, and not come back. High winds here last night, and I worry about the giant fir trees in the wind.


  15. Happy birthday to your son, Chel, he's lucky to have a lovely Mum like you! My youngest is 16 too, and it's not the easiest of ages, for lots of reasons ... exams, exams and exams! Millie is at 6th Foirm now being the youngest in her year her boirthday was last August, and has just ha a batch of exams there too ... unrelenting!

    Love your pictures, and hope the weather starts treating you more kindly this week. Thanks for visiting me today, it's lovely when you drop in! xx

  16. A beautiful array of photos, with some gorgeous macros.

  17. What a lovely post. Happy birthday to your son. My own son is only eight but I appreciate reading the words of another mom to a boy. I only hope to be as articulate and insightful about the whole thing someday as you are.

  18. Congratulations on this milestone, Chel and Happy Birthday to your wonderful son. They do grow up so fast, don't they? Wonderful insights into parenting here, and I can tell that you are the most caring Mum, always concerned with your son's well being and happiness. It is so nice to see them grow up into young adults and start out on their own path. A wonderful tribute to a good son, and also, a tribute to good parenting. For the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world. Hugs xo Karen

  19. It sounds like you have done very well in raising your son, Chel. Happy 16th Birthday to him and best wishes to you too!

  20. Happy birthday to your 16-year-old. Your advice is very sound, and I especially like that you say to support them to go against peer pressure. It's hard to do, but very worthwhile. To be true to who you are can be hard, but it does make you stronger I think.

  21. Lovely, lovely post. Happy Birthday to Mr. Teen. I agreed with everything you have written and it is very much the way we have raised our daughter. The resistance to peer pressure is such an important one, and one that has served Mallory well.

  22. Hello Chel. I've just spent a lovely hour or so browsing your blog and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. I've started following you.
    Congratulations to Mr Teen, a significant birthday and one to celebrate. We just spent a fun day yesterday celebrating with my middle grandson as he turned 10.


  23. A mother and son story of love, love of 16 years and willingness to preserver, strength to endure all - congratulations to you both, hard work pays off. Now the next 16 years will return the length of love you taught, welcome each new chapter, he will show you the pages are in the same cover, and he ws taught from that book. Blessings

  24. I hope the weather is getting better. Happy birthday to you son.

  25. I hope your extreme weather conditions have subsided. I so enjoyed reading about your 16 years or parenthood -- I'm up to year 14, so I can relate to everything that you wrote! Glad you found my blog, which in turn led me to yours. Looking forward to following along with you now!

  26. Happy Birthday to Mr. T., and congratulations to you, Chel, for your sixteen years of mothering. It's such a wonderful blessing to be a mother. I loved the photos that accompanied your thoughts on this day - really lovely. You are so right about life constantly changing. I've been a mother for 32 years now and really wonder where the years went. I sometimes feel like a new mother again, especially today, holding my 5 day old grandson for an hour or so. Such sweetness.

  27. Aww what a lovely sweet post, we seem to have the same attitude to parenting. I always wished for my children to have opinions on things, to do the right thing & not to follow but think first. Happy birthday to your son. xx

  28. Good Morning Chel, Happy birthday to Mr T. I was given the same piece of advice when my daughters were small, "enjoy this time because it will be gone with the twinkle of an eye" and that is exactly what it feels like. My daughters are 41 and 37 years and both my husband and myself wonder where the time went. I always encouraged my daughters to be individuals and to go out into the world to experience life.
    You are a wonderful, thoughtful mother and this is such a lovely tribute to your son.
    The weather has been dreadful hasn't it. I'm not sure what the long range forecast is, but I do hope it settles very soon.
    Enjoy your day.
    Best Wishes

  29. I remember, as a young mum, worrying that I knew *nothing* about being a mum, being a parent. As you say, you just have to do the best you can and trust that your instincts are correct. I can read in your post that you've done a wonderful job with Mr Teen. Be proud of yourself, Chel.

    And happy belated birthday to Mr Teen. You've done your mum (and dad) proud. :o)

  30. Oh Chel this is so well said. With Big Sis hitting twenty this month and Little Sis at sixteen those toddler days seem so far away. I embraced them fully at the time - and they didn't always go smoothly - but am finding that the excitement and adventure of being a mother doesn't wane as they get older - it just changes focus. Well done to Mr Teen - a new exciting adventure awaits ! Jane x

  31. Hi Chel and thanks for the follow :-)

    Happy Birthday to your boy- 16 is a milestone indeed.

  32. Happy Birthday to your Mr T, Chel. A birthday is a real ray of sunshine! It sounds like you are enjoying all the challenges and fun of motherhood. You're so right - it speeds by, so grab hold of every moment!

  33. Such gorgeous shots. Hope your son had a great birthday!

  34. Happy Birthday to your son! Sounds like you have had a lot to do with the wonderful person he is becoming!

  35. Happy Birthday to your Mr. T. :)
    I love the photos you posted .
    I hope the weather clears up for you there soon.

  36. It flies by, doesn't it?
    Where does the time go?
    I enjoyed visiting, and I am a new follower.


  37. Thank you for following me! I returned the favor....Lovely blog!
    Happy late Birthday to your son! 16 is a special age.
    I'm praying that the storms have passed through your town by now and that you and your family are safe and sound...We, here in Texas, experience those types of storms on a regular basis...NOT fun!

  38. Happy birthday to your son, and good luck for his future!

  39. What a sweet post on parenting. Congrats to Mr T.

  40. What a lovely post! You and your Mr. T are truly blessed to have such a fabulous relationship. Your photos dressed up your story beautifully. Congrats to Mom and Mr. T

  41. Such a sweet reflection on your son and your parenting experiences. The time goes by in such a hurry and must be savored! Our lovely granddaughter turns sixteen in two weeks. Wasn't it just yesterday I said that about her mother! ;-) Good wishes to all...Susan

  42. What a lovely post! Happy birthday to your son, Chel, a son who is obviously very well loved!




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