Farewell Son – Uni is calling!

Dear Son,

My final entry in your diary. A diary I started when you were a baby with the morbid intention of being able to share stories with you if I was ever not around. So to hand it over to you today means we made it!

I have so much that I want to share with you, but I find it hard to gush emotions, and you find it hard to accept them. I guess instead we have bonded over our shared love for music, life and travel and those things have dominated our conversations and time together. But there are feelings, emotions and stories I wish to share with you now, incase we never get an opportunity to pour it again. I thought a letter might be the easiest way to have that conversation with you 😉

I have been mulling over your entire existence for the last few months, preparing for this moment to wave you off to your next chapter. And by existence, I even mean prior to your being, when you were just an idea in a young girl’s mind. The idea of me being a mum, having a son.

I will be honest. I wanted a girl more than I wanted a boy. And so I was so glad that my first baby was a girl. But when we started trying for you, I begged to a god I don’t believe in, that you would be a boy. And so the picture of me pointing at you in your crib in the hospital with the hugest smile on my face is pure glee. I couldn’t believe I had been so lucky. Your birth was so different to your older sister’s too. Whilst hers was painful and full of drama, you arrived with ease whilst Dad and I laughed away the hours together. It was beautiful and I adore the memory of it. It was that memory that made me want another baby so bad – I wanted to feel the elation that I felt in that moment having bought you into this world.

You were the easiest baby in the world (well easier than your drama queen sisters). You existed in those early days the way you still exist now. In your bubble, demanding very little (well before your love for clothes began to grow anyway). You were so happy to lay in my arms and ‘just be’, and I still think this is you now. For Art Bomb I wrote a poem about ‘Just be’. The notion that we as human beings are no longer happy with ‘just existing’ – we have complicated it and now feel that ‘Just being’ makes us a failure and I am convinced this is probably the root cause of society’s unhappiness. We are after all the only species who strive for more. The idea of ‘just being’ came from you. The fact that I don’t think that I have ever heard you say you are bored, or life isn’t good enough. An anxiety that hampers my life and mental health no end sadly. I am glad that you haven’t inherited that trait and I am always, always in awe of your approach to your daily grind. I hope you never lose that about yourself.

I love to hear Dad talk about your baby days, I watch his face light up with memories of you. He always tells the same story: going into your silent room in a morning, and your smile beaming back when you caught sight of him. Your legs and arms flapping frantically as you tried to control your excitement to see him. He isn’t a baby person, but you weren’t your typical baby and he was like a moth to a flame with you. He would barely put his work bag down before he would swipe you up in his arms. Not that you would have minded if he didn’t – your bubble and own company was enough for you.

I loved the simple days we spent together more than anything else. Mainly because those were the days you loved best. When I didn’t drag you out of your cave on a carefully scheduled mission. Playing board games, watching movies, doing crafts, playing in the pool and reading to you in bed. I can’t tell you what I would give to go back to those days. At the time I guess I was just getting through, waiting to have money to take you out, waiting for the long awaited holiday to arrive, or for an exciting event or party to occur. But now I realise that those were the exciting events, those were the days I would long for the most.

One of the things that I loved about your childhood (that your younger sister has really missed out on) is your relationship with your big sister. As we get older things change, good and bad. But I hope that you hark back to growing up and remember the deep bond you both shared. It was like raising twins. You adored the ground she walked on. You would wander around silently behind her as she bounded her way through life, sprinkling sparkles as she went. In awe you would never be more than a few steps behind her, just observing her ‘being’. Between you both, you have a catalogue of experiences and memories together that I look forward to your reliving in your agedness in your rocking chairs as your life begins to close too. I can’t imagine having raised either one of you without each other. You were the perfect duo and I hope that time or distance never changes it.

As you had no choice but to come out of your bubble, I loved watching your personality grow. There was nothing you weren’t good at: you are intelligent, talented, articulate and most importantly you were kind. Other than being reluctant to leave your room (and being a total lazy scrubber), you have bounded through your childhood without bringing an ounce of worry or angst to our door. Maybe you left that to your big sister and thought we had endured enough 😉. I don’t think there are many parents that could say that. And whilst we have had many arguments, none of them were ever of any importance.  I have lost count of the conversations I have had with friends and strangers about what an amazing human you are and I could fill a novel with stories of your grandeur – but in true you style – I am not sure you would care to listen (even though I am writing this letter, I know it is more for me than you as I don’t think you will care for it lol – but I have things I need to say). But I have to share one that just about sums you up. I remember after you achieved Level 6 in your Sats and your best friend achieved 3’s. I remember you running into the playground to tell me your exciting news. He followed behind and grabbed your arm to tell you his result, he wasn’t sure whether to be happy or not – he was looking for your reassurance. And even at 10 years old, you read him and the situation perfectly. You congratulated him as he asked what you had got. You folded your paper quickly and shoved in your pocket and told him you couldn’t remember what you got whilst drawing his attention to the sweets I had bought for picking you both up. I had to catch my breath that day on the playground. I am proud of your intelligence and in awe of your talent – but I am humbled by your kindness. It is by far my most favourite thing about you, just like Dad’s memories of your early mornings. That and your primary maths teacher writing to me to tell me that you were ‘One of life’s great Jewels’ and that ‘She could take you home, although she would have to beat you often’ – Something I greatly resonated with 😉 .  These comments about you were gifted so often, it become normal and I guess you created a pedestal that you had to work hard to ensure you didn’t fall from. I know that our expectations of you were high, and that must have been tricky at times, not that you ever expressed it – but in true Taylor style – you just got your head down and got on with it.

This will sound strange, but I remember your voice. So different from the manly huskiness now at 18, but your, still husky, little voice that always sounded excited. You always spoke with emotion, and that emotion was always excitedness. I love to watch videos of you back, just to remember that excited little boy. Sadness is not an emotion you express socially. I have no doubt you feel it. That is perhaps one of the things that make me the saddest about you. The braveness you portray, regardless of any fear or angst that you have ever felt. I can count on one hand the times I have seen you in meltdown. I wish I had done more to try to break that down for you, but becoming a parent is easy, it is a physical interaction that anybody and everybody can do. But it doesn’t make you an expert and as the clique saying goes – you didn’t come with a manual and I just didn’t know how to do it. I think you have found your person to confide in, in Summer. I know you are completely comfortable in her presence to be ‘you’. And I know you make her feel the same in return. You are a complete gift to each other. I remember watching you both together in Dorset and saying to Dad, that my favourite thing about your relationship with your girlfriend is how you both get to be yourself. I can tell you at 17, I most definitely did not feel confident to be myself around partners, so to watch you accept each other in your whole completeness relaxed my fears for your future right there and then. I can’t remember the moment (I am losing my memory in my agedness) but it was something about you wearing socks with sandals I think lol.

Becoming a big brother wasn’t something you wanted but you have filled those boots and created what can only be described as an Iconic Status for yourself in her life. It is fair to say that you are her favourite human in the world, and she idolises you. It is not hard to see why. You are a break dancing, music making, politic meddling, intellectual genius – who seemingly glides through life and its challenges. She has never seen you in trouble, upset or find a hurdle that you can’t overcome. What else could you ask for in a big brother. Like your relationship with your big sister, I hope that you take your position in her life seriously and know just how much she needs you (as they both do). Moving away means that relationships that previously just ‘existed’ have to be nurtured, so make sure you reach out to her often and be a presence in her life, not a memory.

So today has arrived and you are fleeing the nest and of course I am sobbing my eyes out writing this as Dad sits next to me writing his final diary entry too. I can’t tell you how excited I am that you have been the first in my immediate family’s legacy to do this (I know you will graduate so might as well say it now). And yes of course, I wanted this for you so bad. I wanted it for myself, but it wasn’t to be, and so for all of you,  I want you to make it where I never did. Not because I want you to live my life but just because I want you to have the best experience in this one and only life that you can get. I want you to make the most of it, I want it to be easy, I want you to be happy. And … ultimately I want you to be as young and carefree for as long as possible – and Uni will allow you to do that. Growing up seems fun, but it is mostly hard work if I am to be honest with you, so I am keen to encourage you to avoid for as long as humanly possible.

But as well as being excited, I am also heartbroken that mine and your immediate journey has come to an end. Far quicker than I could have ever realised (said every mother ever). Of course I am still your mother and you are still my son, but you don’t need me in the way that you did in those mornings where I plucked you from your cot. And that, I will tell you, breaks me. I know you don’t think I am an emotional person. I wasn’t raised with an abundance of love and affection and sadly that has meant that I struggle to demonstrate it, but I can assure you that I feel it through every second of time and every movement of my body. I can’t bear to think of the silence that pervades the house when you are not here. I will strangely miss your array of profanities being screamed through the house whilst gaming and your room being stacked with manky plates. A few nights ago, in the early hours of the morning you woke me with such said activities, I went to jump up to shout at you and stopped at the end of my bed instead to listen. I have learnt now about ‘the little important things’ and I knew that the times I would have to listen to the madness coming from your bedroom were running out. So instead I listened .. listened and cried, because I knew it was over. I know you will pissing yourself at this point and who can blame you. But one day you will be a father and then you will get it.

The thing about parenthood/motherhood Taylor is this. I have built my entire life around you three. You have been my soul mates, best friends, worst enemies and most of all companions through the good and the bad. And then one day that friendship is plucked away and repurposed. You find your own life, your own companion and I get to watch from the sidelines – proudly of course, but it is still a strange painful notion I guess. Whilst perfectly normal – I can tell you that to a mother waving her only son farewell, it seems anything but normal. It feels like you are being stolen and that you are leaving me behind. I have definitely struggled over this last 18 mths of my new role in your life. I have missed our movie nights on the sofa, our one to one time having dinner at relish, our long chats about ‘what makes the colour green green – and how do we know we all see the same’.  And whilst I have desperately tried to claw it back in a refusal to accept your impending adult hood – the day has arrived and I can longer deny it. And as such I concede defeat. And today after my sobbing I promise to pull my sorry self together and focus on my new loft goblin 😉

But please promise me this. Visit often, and don’t forget about us. Come and swear in your room and slate my dinners and fridge arrangements, argue with your sisters and tell me how non maternal I am. Because again, those of the things that strangely I will miss the most.

Anyway son this novel could have been summed up in a couple of sentences I know. But I really wanted to dwell and so allow me that at least. So in summary  – I am ridiculously proud of you, I have loved raising you, and I will miss you terribly.

And now for my advice for the future to close this book on. Normally, as I do to my students, I would go into lecture mode and tell you to take life by the horns, enjoy every second, don’t take it too seriously, have fun, be kind, work hard and play even harder. I would throw in the clique about ‘the world being your oyster’ too of course. But son, you have lived and breathed this mantra your entire life, without exception. So I have just three words of advice for you going forward, to Uni, to leaving home, to adulthood…………………. ‘Go do you’

Son I love you more than the breath in my body, good luck! I love you! Love Mum xxxxxxxxxx

P.s please don’t die in the river xxxxxx

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