My beautiful boy. You are 8 today.
Daddy described you as being half-way to 16 and my heart nearly stopped.
I don’t know why that shocks me as you’re practically a teenager already in your moods and attitudes.
‘I wish I was 17!’ you shout during those famous door-slamming, book-throwing strops. For you, 17 is that magic age when you’ll be pretty much a grown-up, independent, a free state. The same age as your big brother Isaac, your hero.
I watch you asleep, curled up with best friend and confidante Winnie the Pooh.
Your eyelids twitch and I know you’re escaping dungeons or fighting crime or scoring your 1000th goal in the World Cup 2025. You have always had such an active imagination and an amazing way with words.
God is a storyteller. He tells stories about the world. – Ezra, age 6
I’ve had strangers listening in on our conversations and later tapping me to remark on how bright you are. And don’t you know it. Even though sometimes you’re painfully self-conscious, you also have your father’s habit of telling me about your brilliance. *Eye roll*
I’m very clever at school, Mum.
Who told you that?
But who said you were clever?
Myself. – Ezra, age 3
But I have to acknowledge how often you blow me away. I love watching you express yourself in words, on the football pitch, on the dance floor. You have always moved to the beat of your own DJ.
Like many kids, you’re a walking contradiction. One minute, pinning Jed to the floor with your knees. The next, you sound like Gandhi.
I don’t do rough battling. Violence isn’t the answer. Violence only makes you lose. – Ezra, age 7
It’s been such a privilege watching you develop into this boisterous, shy, quietly confident, ultra loud, thoughtful, bicep-curling, book-toting, breakdancing, ball-obsessed individual.
A natural striker, who’s learning the joy of passing and assists. A slapstick comedian, who laughs at all his own jokes (another trick from Daddy).
I won’t pretend it’s all been hugs and giggles. I’ve probably yelled at you louder and with more feeling than anyone else in my life. I’m sorry, especially for that time I scared both of us with the force of it.
Neither of us deserved to be at breaking point but I love that we can talk it over and keep learning from where and how we clash. Little Miss Stubborn and her even more obstinate progeny.
I want to go to MacDonald’s!
You’re not in control.
You’re not in control! You’re out of control! – Ezra, age 4
I love that you are learning to take a time-out on your own, rather than always turn the room upside down. And that you listen, really listen, when I talk to you about big concepts like perspective and values and responsibility.
Back in the day, you handled things differently.
Jed grabbed my hair so I knocked him down. I’m giving him advice – Ezra, age 4
Sure, much of the time you talk over me. Then there are the times when you know exactly what to say.
When I was born I was so happy to see that you were my mummy. That’s why I cried. – Ezra, age 5
Sweet baby, are you really eight years old?
And has it only been eight years and nine months since I’ve had you as my near-constant companion? It feels like we’ve known each other much longer. In fact, I know we have.
I’m a man. But not yet. Not today. Maybe tomorrow. – Ezra, age 2
Happy birthday, little man. Eight is going to be a beautiful year. Love, Mum x
*Quotes from ‘The Book of Ezra’ – a work in progress!