Family

To Cian, on your 13th birthday.

Ci,

I can hardly believe I am waking up today as the mother of a teenager. How can it be thirteen years since the moment you were born and I had the son I secretly wanted all throughout my pregnancy?

It only seems like yesterday that you were fixated with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and shouting “Beep Beep help!” in the middle of the night when you wanted my attention. Or the first day of school when I held your little hand and you trotted by the side of me with your rucksack almost as big as you, eager to meet your teacher.

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I still vividly remember you going to your first rugby session at the age of 5 and playing your first game at the age of six.

I’ll never forget how I cried when you moved to the Juniors, and had to leave most of your friends behind, as you were the youngest in the year group.

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And four years on, I sobbed my heart out again when you had to leave the Juniors and embark on your next adventure in Treorchy Comp. In your leaver’s concert where you all sang Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill” but changed “castle” to “school”, I couldn’t stop the tears as I was so nervous for you to take that next step and be a little fish in a big pond again.

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As it happened, I had no need to worry as the Comp has been the making of you. It’s brought you out of your shell, you have gained confidence, are flying academically and  you have made some lovely new friends who have you in stitches most of the time.

But it’s this last year that I have seen the biggest change in you. I seem to have blinked and you have grown up overnight (well not up as such, we all know you don’t grow) but you seem older in your ways and far more independent than you have ever been.

I was so proud of you when you completed the Welsh 3 Peaks with ease last month and raised over £2,500 for JDRF,  in the hope that they will one day find a cure for Fin. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for your encouragement and support every time I faltered, I would never have made it.

I’ve loved our Friday afternoon lunches, just the two of us, catching up on the week and sharing everything that’s been going on that we haven’t had time to talk about.

And as the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months, I wait with baited breath for you to turn into a raging, hormonal mess and yet, to date, it hasn’t happened.

Don’t get me wrong, you address me as “bruv” or “boss” more often than “Mam” these days, your phone is glued to your hand and you seem to be out with the boys at every given opportunity, but one thing that hasn’t changed is your personality.

Always trying to be helpful, you make me tea when I am stressed and are always the first to ask how I am if I am ill. You still end a phone call with “love you” even when you are with your friends and when I recently dropped you off for a school trip and stopped around the corner so I could say Goodbye without embarrassing you, you told me to “Get a Grip” and that you didn’t care.

You are kind, caring and one of the loveliest kids I know and I am incredibly proud to be your mother. There’s a long way to go until we get through the teenage years and I’m sure there will be plenty of bumps along the way but as you said to me the other day when we talked about people changing; “Look Mam, if I turn into a knob in the next few years, I promise I’ll be back to normal by the time I’m 18.”

And after 13 pretty perfect years, I can’t really ask for more than that.

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Happy 13th birthday, my boy, my number 1, my G! (haha)

Love you always,

Mammy

xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family, Sport, Type 1 Diabetes

To Fin, on the 7th anniversary of your diagnosis.

Fin,

Today marks 7 years since you were diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

I remember getting home from the hospital and once you were safely tucked up in bed,  I started scouring the internet for information and joining support groups to try and make sense of our new world.

During these searches,  I came across posts from people who were celebrating their child’s “diaversary”, otherwise known as the anniversary of their diagnosis, and I’m not going to lie, I was appalled.

What on earth was there to celebrate? How could they be celebrating the worst day of their lives? The mere thought of it, made me feel sick.

But then as I read on, I realised that it wasn’t the diagnosis itself that they were celebrating, but what they had achieved in spite of it.

In the last 7 years, you have endured over 700 insulin injections, over 20,000 blood tests and over 750 cannula insertions. Having needles stuck into you is part of your daily routine. You are frequently woken in the middle of the night to drink apple juice and there are days when you are exhausted from a night, blighted by hypos.

But you never moan, you never complain and you have the best attitude to life that I have ever known.

In the last 7 years, despite what you have had to endure, you have achieved so much more than I ever thought possible and there are so many things that I am grateful for.

I am grateful for your older brother. The one who is there for you no matter what. The one who gets to try everything out before you have to, so that when your time comes, he can reassure you and tell you that everything will be fine.

I am grateful for our large network support. Family and friends that are not scared to learn and are determined to be able to look after you, so that we feel supported and can go to work knowing you are  in capable hands. I know it’s a cliché but family really is everything, please never forget that as you get older.

I am grateful for the way technology has advanced since your diagnosis. We have gone from two injections a day and a really restrictive routine to eating whatever you want, whenever you want and checking your blood sugar on your Apple Watch. It’s insane how much things have improved in such a short time and I am so excited to see what the future brings for you.

I am grateful for all the holidays we have enjoyed since your diagnosis. For such a long time, I was afraid to take you anywhere further than an hour from home in case something happened. But, an Orlando holiday in the October of 2012 had already been arranged before we found out about your condition and so once we nailed that, we never looked back!

I am grateful for the amazing support you receive in school. The fact that you are included in everything makes such a huge difference to your wellbeing and no matter how many gifts I buy or thank you cards I write, I will never be able to truly convey my gratitude to the absolute angels who support you every single day.

I am grateful for your friends. You have such a lovely group of friends, some from school, some from rugby and some from the caravan. You are never happier than when you are with them and I hope you keep these friendships as you grow and continue to have each other’s backs, always.