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...
... 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!
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