August 3, 2013


Warning: This is a completely indulgent, unapologetic love-a-thon for my son Jack, whose recent tenth birthday got me quite pathetically mushy and sentimental.

 My darling Jack

In the words of every parent in the history of the universe "I can't believe you're ten! Where has that time gone?"

I'm writing this letter to you here on my blog because as I've taught you, if it's on the internet, it's out there forever and I want you always to be able to tap into your ten year old Jack.

I think you'll look back and like him. You should. He's amazing.

There are so many things that make you so very 'you' and I'm not just talking about those gigantic, swimming pool blue eyes, or that adorable smattering of freckles on your nose, or the way you insert the word 'actually' into many of your sentences.

You love nothing more than to run around in bare feet and I'm fairly sure that if you were the Prime Minister, you would ban shoes altogether (but that would make a lot of women very unhappy and, trust me, you don't want to get on the wrong side of women. Especially shoe women. Life lesson). We went to the mall last week and you got out of the car in bare feet, accidentally-on-purpose 'forgetting' to bring your thongs, which are, by the way, considered by you to be the only acceptable form of footwear year round. It wouldn't surprise me if you turn up to your own wedding in bare feet. And that's okay, just as long as you've ditched The Shorts by the then. You know what I mean by The Shorts don't you? The khaki cargo shorts with the elastic waist that you wear on permanent rotation now have holes in the bum but I still can't get you out of them. You're loyal like that.

Every now and then, more frequently these days, I get a glimpse of the man you will become, mostly when I watch how you interact with your two year old sister - gentle, kind, a strong sense of justice, an ability to find silly in the serious when needed. You can jolly Francesca out of a whingy mood with a wrestle on our bed, or a game of chasey where you always let her catch you (after awhile anyway!) It does make me laugh, though, how you roll your eyes when Cesca talks about Thomas or the Wiggles, like you can't believe you ever went out with them!

You are beginning to open up to the world outside your own sphere - questioning, considering, speculating, reasoning. You watch for other people's reactions and moderate your own responses. It's not just you and teddy anymore kid. In other words, you are maturing and it swells my heart to watch.

I'm especially proud of the way you've handled the transition to your new school, in particular how easily you've made new friends, yet maintained the authentic friendships from your old school. I think the reason you've made such great new friends is that you know from experience how important it is to be kind, inclusive, non-competitive and giving of yourself. The difference in you is amazing. You are more confident, eager to learn and willing to stand up for yourself. You also look great in yellow! How cool that you get to wear your favourite colour to school every day.

Despite your rapidly growing maturity, you are still very much a kid. You love to run the wrong way up escalators when the coast is clear, wrestle with Dad on the king size bed, perform arm-fart concerts in the bath and conduct fantastical mock battles between Autobots and Decepticons. You are a champion lego builder and an excellent hand-baller and you still can't eat an ice-cream without getting a chocolate moustache. And beard. At least ice cream is one of the foods you will eat. Ahhhh Jack, let's not talk about food hey? Let's just say I hope you take after your brother Ryan who, for awhile there would only eat meat and bread, preferably meat inside bread. Now he eats everything on God's green earth, even salad. Think of it. SALAD!! You roll your eyes now about the Wiggles. One day I hope you will roll your eyes remembering your infatuation with white processed foods, while tucking into a quinoa, beetroot and goats cheese salad.

You have begrudgingly accepted that Monday to Thursday is screen free time and when you forget that you don't like that particular house rule, you actually enjoy the other things you find to do. I find you curled up in a corner with a book, practicing your favourite piano pieces, playing handball against a wall, skating in the cul de sac with your mates, or sitting quietly in your bedroom recreating lego spaceships into new and fanciful masterpieces.

You don't need much help with your homework these days, and when the teacher tells you to write interesting sentences, you really do take that on board big time. Here are some examples of your recent sentences:

On Monday I shot a blazing, hot arrow into the sky and accidentally knocked a poor crane to the ground. 
The energetic heifer was jumping up and down and magically started flying and got stuck in a tree. 
The old man earned a pittance for his amazingly, massive job. (Damn capitalists!) 
The young, intelligent boy pasteurised the milk to get the dreadful germs out. 

I get the feeling you've been learning all about adjectives in class this term. I must say I'm very pleased there is a young, intelligent boy in charge of the milk. I must also remember not to walk under trees that have magical, flying, energetic heifers in them!

You have long legs and lanky arms that seemed to have stretched overnight (oh my chubby-faced, roly-poly baby boy - where did you go?) but which can still curl up neatly in order to fit on mum's lap which, thankfully, you still like to do every day.

You smell a bit more like a sweaty boy now. And suspiciously like chocolate milk a lot of the time.

You love sport. Any sport, but rugby union, rugby league, soccer and AFL are your favourites. You get in there and give every sport you play 100%. Losing never seems to bother you or many of your mates. You just love the game, the tackling, the fun of it all. And the sausage sandwiches slathered in tomato sauce of course.

You have encyclopaedic knowledge about all things Minecraft and I am blown away when I watch you journey through the incredible worlds you've created. You are a true digital native, navigating the online world in a way that is second nature to your generation. I will scramble to keep up with you, but keep up I must. The internet is a big, scary universe and it's my job to protect you and remind you of what is real and good, that the internet can distort reality and make bad things seem normal. I love that we can talk about that stuff now and I hope we always will.

Most of all I feel incredibly lucky that I get to come along for the ride (and I promise not to embarrass you too much - no more Abba songs!)

All my love always & forever

Mum xoxo

PS. I've made a little video for you . . .

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