How can it be another 12 months since I last sat here writing a letter to you, 7 years after your diagnosis?
This last year seems to have gone by in a complete flash and yet, once again, you have accomplished so much and made me prouder than I ever thought possible.
Rugby continues to be your biggest love (closely followed by rapping to Spotify, screaming at your friends on the PS4 and doing jumps up the mountain on your bike).
You have enjoyed playing for RSR, winning the Super 8s with Ton Pentre Juniors; scoring a try on the Cardiff Arms Park and going on tour to Butlins with your Treorchy team-mates.
That said, this season hasn’t been without it’s share of injuries and being out of action for over 2 months nearly killed you.
Aside from rugby, we have had a busy year. We spent our last ever season down the caravan with good friends and made sure it was one to remember.
You appeared on television, getting to the main stage of the Millenium Centre in the Ymgom Eisteddfod competition with your hilarious portrayal of “Mam”
You had numerous celebrations with your friends for your “double digits” birthday!
You went on your first ever school residential for two nights without me and you couldn’t have cared less! And whilst I professed that I would have preferred you to have been at least a little bit sad, I secretly love the fact that you exude confidence and fear nothing.
Whilst these photographs all hold their own memories of the last 12 months, there are two things that stand out for me this year which have totally exceeded anything I ever expected of you.
The first was managing to climb three of the highest mountains in Wales (Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen Y Fan) within 32 hours. The original plan was for Daddy and Cian to do the challenge and for you to stay with Nanna for the weekend and meet us for the last peak of Pen Y Fan. But after weeks of nagging and promising me you could do it, I gave in and said I would do it with you (I still haven’t forgiven you for that!)
I cannot put into words how difficult it was. It is without doubt the hardest thing I have ever done and I came so close to giving up so many times yet you, a 10 year old boy, with a life threatening, hard to manage condition, did it with ease and as each hour passed and you carried on going, you gave me the strength to dig deep and push on.
And as we got to the peak of Pen Y Fan at 7 pm on the Sunday evening, I cried buckets. Tears of relief that I made it, but more importantly, tears of amazement that you and your brother could accomplish something so difficult, at such a young age, without a single complaint. I was the proudest woman alive that day.
The second was how quickly you picked up the operation of your artificial pancreas and how effortlessly you have taken ownership of operating it, whenever you are at school or away from home.
Whilst I may have “built” it, without your willingness to take on ANY new technology I offer you, and your commitment and determination to learn, we would never see the results that we do.
You have had to grow up beyond your years yet you never complain; you just get on with life, still singing, laughing or rapping all day, every day.
We are reaping the benefits of Android APS and the huge improvement to our quality of life, not only with an amazing hba1c, the lowest in 7 years, but also with your new found independence and longing to be outdoors with your friends, no matter what the weather!
I truly believe that it’s the knowledge that your pump will switch off when your bloods start to drop and the knowledge that I can monitor them and contact you if I think you need glucose, that has given you this new found freedom.
For the first time since that fateful night 8 years ago, I feel more positive than ever about your future. The thought of you going to secondary school in September used to terrify me. Now, with only 8 months to go, knowing that I can control your insulin from my phone in work and that your hypos are minimal, I feel so much more confident about watching you take the next step. I’m sure you will fly through it, as you do everything else. Let’s be honest, you’ve got your brother and half of the Treorchy U14s to watch your back!
So tonight, as we go on our annual outing to Pizza Hut in memory of Pete the Pancreas, instead of feeling sad that you have now lived with this condition for twice as long as you haven’t, I will be smiling and feeling grateful for everything that we have and for how much things have improved in the last 8 years.
The future is so much brighter than I ever thought possible. You may have diabetes but it most certainly does not have you!
You are unique, you bring a smile to the face of everyone you meet and are larger than life itself. You are quick witted; a proper jack the lad, yet your teacher describes you as having a massive heart and being one of the kindest people in her class, never failing to help anyone who may be struggling.
The only thing I have left to ask of you is to please never change.
I love you more than you will ever know.