My nine year old son has been here before. Of that I am certain. I am also equally certain that he was gifted to me, as when he came along, so did my faith. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Bible basher, it's just that my belief in God has never been so sure and so strong since he arrived.
I've always known that there's been something different about him; something special. Right from when he was tiny. He can look at me sometimes, and I feel like he's looking into my very soul, knowing instantly when I'm a little under par and dispensing his own kind of medicine to make me feel better. This 'medicine' is anything from a cuddle (he loves to cuddle!), a kiss, or his hand stroking my face coupled with some simple but humbling words: "It's OK, Mummy. You have me." As a toddler he would ask several times a day "are you happy, Mummy?" reminding me that happiness can be a choice.
My boy has certainly chosen happiness. Even if we've had a bad morning when I've lost my shit with him, because he's yet again left his reading diary at school, or he's forgotten to do his homework. He can be in tears five minutes before we leave the house because I've shouted at him, yet we rock up to the school gate, and in he skips without a care in the world!
Photo credit: Author's own
The week he started school every boy in the reception class was issued with a letter to their parents warning about some bad behaviour. There'd been an incident which resulted in a child being hurt. I searched his book bag to find no letter. The next day I asked one of the other mums about it who told me "Oh no, Jude wasn't involved." When I quizzed him he told me "Ooh no Mummy, it looked dangerous". So there he is. Mr Health and Safety. The boy who to this day won't learn to ride a bike; who won't climb trees; who is quite happy being at home with me rather than venture out on his own to knock for his friends. Last summer he went out to play with nine friends who'd knocked the door. It was his first time out without me. In less than 20 minutes, he was home, declaring "that was the worst experience of my life!" I so want him to get out there, to get dirty, to laugh and have fun with his friends, but he's just as happy to be at home. Safe.
I worry that he doesn't seem to get invited to many play dates. After all he has lots of friends. So when he sees his friends going to each other's houses to play, my heart hurts for him. But his doesn't. He's genuinely happy that his friends are all having fun, even when he's not involved. That child just doesn't have an envious bone in his body! But what he lacks in jealousy, he certainly makes up for in emotion.
A few weeks ago, as we sat at breakfast together, I saw a puzzled and worried look on his face. Then his chin started to wobble. "What's the matter, Baby?" I asked as he blinked out a big tear. As he wiped the tears that were now flowing freely, and dabbed at his now snotty nose, he said "Mummy, I'm so worried. I just don't know where to start looking. I just don't know how to go about it". The empathy rose to the back of my throat, and I struggled to stop myself from joining him in his tears. As I swallowed it down, I asked "What do you need to look for?" I was completely floored when he told me "A wife, Mummy. I don't know how to find a wife."
That, right there is why I worry. Out of my four children, he's the one I worry about most of all. Because he displays such copious amounts of sensitivity, empathy and love (oh, the love! He'll tell you 100 times a day how much he loves you!), I constantly worry about his future; that he'll get his heart trampled on, and when it is, how he'll cope, as he just can't comprehend unkindness.
Photo Credit: Author's own
He has such lovely manners, always holding the door open saying "ladies first"; telling me I look beautiful when in fact I look like a sack of shit; saying "thank you, that was lovely" for the sandwich I've made him with bread that should have been chucked the day before yesterday; being grateful, and always showing that gratitude even when he gets 'clothes' for Christmas! And talk about "out the mouths' of babes"! Only the other day, he taught his Dad a beautiful lesson while they were both out playing golf. Dad wasn't happy with his impending shot, and just like that he was almost reduced to tears with our son's encouraging words: "It's OK Dad, just do it. I have faith in you."
Because he's so happy with his own company and seems to be in his own little world so much, I sometimes struggle to pull him back into mine. For such a wise child, he sometimes can't even manage the simplest of tasks. He can take an hour to get dressed in the mornings, and it can take him all day to tidy his room. But he's the funniest little dude, and you can't help but get caught up in his infectious laugh, his cheeky smile and his completely beautiful, truly amazing soul. And one thing I am certain of: he'll be the best kind of husband.
He tells his Dad and me regularly: "I'm so glad you're my Mum and Dad". So are we, Sweetheart.
You can read my blog "Life Laid Bare" here.