• Allie Atkinson

And Now You Are Six!

Dear J,

When you were first born, I couldn’t imagine you being anything other than the tiny, fragile baby in my arms. I remember others mentioning future events to me, like you beginning school, and I would almost laugh them off as being ‘too far away to think about’.

And now you are six!

You are no longer that little bundle that spent his first nine days refusing to be placed anywhere other than my arms, or the toddler that would shout at the television as he joined in all of his favourite theme tunes. (Well, actually, you still do that, just now you know how to say all of the words! haha)

Instead, it’s marble videos and tablet games and the next complicated lego build. It’s homework battles, nightly reading and a whole set of friends that have nothing to do with their mums knowing me. You are carving your own path already, and if I’m honest, it fills me pride and terror in equal measures!

Seriously, where did those six years go?

And, more to the point, will the next six years fly by just as fast? EEEK! That is a scary thought!

I never quite understood when others told me that ‘the days are long, but the years are short’... Well, my gosh, do I understand it as I look at you today. For me, the years have flown by and I could sit here and feel really quite low about that if I thought of all the moments we’ve missed out on or the memories I wish we had made, especially during those times when the struggle with my mental health became a lot harder. There are many moments when I think you perhaps have had an unfair start being my first, because realistically, my mental health and the journey we have had as a family in recent years has affected the amount we’ve left the house for exciting adventures or mixed with other people. And I am sorry for all of those missed opportunities.

But I don’t want to focus on that right now… this is a moment for joy and gratitude!

And so I choose to celebrate you through letting you know three of the many things you have taught me over the last six years...

Number One - The Importance Of A Cuddle

You are the cuddle master!

If you’re excited, a cuddle helps you celebrate. If you’re upset, angry or anxious, a cuddle helps you calm down. You offer cuddles at any time of the day. The middle of dinner. Halfway to school in the rain. At the end of school when everyone is trying to get home. There is always time to stop, and have a cuddle. Nothing matters more. And if there’s one thing watching you live that way has taught me, it's that love comes first. Always. It’s more important than the time on the clock, or food on your plate, or the opinions of others. And in those moments when that slips my mind, I know you are quite often the one to remind me, standing there with your arms open wide!

Number Two - What Being Authentically Yourself Means

Anyone who knows you, knows how completely obsessed with numbers you are! It is a passion that has been there since you were barely able to walk and shows no sign of fading away anytime soon. And you love them so openly and authentically. The games you create, the stories and the investigations make me smile more that you realise (mainly because you don't see me hiding outside your door listening to you chat away to yourself. Ha!) We have had many discussions about finding ‘Your People’, those that either share your passion for the things you love, or those that respect and encourage your interests, even if they are different to yours. And I’m so pleased and proud to see the way you have kept following your own heart at school and amongst your friends. But more than that, it inspires me to do the same. To follow my own heart and ideas, even if they aren't the same as those around me!

Number Three - Forgiveness and Understanding

It is no secret that this Mummy can become a snappy, and sometimes, shouty crocodile, and over the last six years, I have been so grateful for the forgiveness you have shown when those moments have arisen. Just the other day, the crocodile appeared - Yep! I shouted. Everyone got upset and the whole house seemed to be filled with noise. But, a couple of minutes later, there was cuddling and apologies and the words you said that day have replayed in my mind a number of times.

“It’s o.k. Mummy, you were frustrated and worried, and you let all of those feelings come out at us. Like boom! A volcano! You just need to learn how to get them out another way Mummy. That’s all.”

If that isn’t understanding, and forgiveness, and empathy, then clearly I have no idea what those words mean. I hope you manage to keep that with you as you grow because it is truly special in this world and everyone needs a little bit of that in their lives.

My Final Thoughts

It's hard to imagine what you will be like in another six years time. It seems so far away and yet I know in reality, it really isn't that far away at all. What's more, another six years after that, and you will be eighteen! Gosh, I just realised that means you are already a third of your way towards being an adult. That really is impossible to imagine. But I hope whatever your passions are at twelve and eighteen, you will continue to prioritise love and cuddles, have the strength to be yourself no matter what, and show the world what forgiveness and understanding really looks like.

And above all, I hope you know that I love you, even when I am snappy, shouty crocodile.

Happy 6th Birthday Baby Boy. xx