Matthew Munson: Covid, tennis and back to school for Bryan

Matthew and Bryan

Covid has once again struck Casa de Munson; oh woe is … actually, it’s not been that bad. Bryan tested positive on Monday, and tested negative on Friday; jubilation! I haven’t caught it at all; how, I do not know, but I continue to be appreciative of that fact. The main thing is that he gets to go back to school on Monday for his last week before the Easter holidays begin; he was genuinely very eager to return, and so was I – his education is so important, and he really wanted to see his friends once again; I can understand that.

Bryan’s trying a new hobby next week; tennis. He’s been intrigued by it for a long time, although he didn’t get that from me; no sport interests me in the slightest. Well, that’s a slight lie; I find myself genuinely fascinated by the Olympics every four years, and the 2012 ones in London were so exciting. But tennis? Nope; Bryan, however, wants to give it a go, and I’m happy to go along with it. There’s an Under 12s session in Broadstairs that he’s going to try, whilst I go along with a good book and hide in a corner.

I like encouraging Bryan to try new things; it broadens his horizons and teaches him new skills. Even if he tries something just a few times and decides that it’s not for him, that’s fine; he’s 11, I don’t expect him to have necessarily found his life’s calling. When I was 11, I wanted to be a chef; at 10, it was a police officer, and at nine, I was definitely going to be a doctor. Bryan is exploring his interests; who knows where it will lead him in his life, but I’m excited to watch him take every step.

I wrote last week about our three year anniversary, and I was so genuinely touched by some lovely comments we received off the back of that. Bryan asked if that made him famous; I hope you all don’t mind, but I told him that it did. Maybe not in the same league as Brad Pitt, but close.

We had lunch out this weekend, and we were talking to a member of the cafe staff who obviously doesn’t read my columns (shock! Horror!); she said that she could tell we were related because of how similar we looked. I just smiled and thanked her – I don’t feel the urge to tell the story every single time of how we came into each other’s lives – but Bryan surprised me; he proudly said that he was adopted and that I chose him. There was no shame or artifice in his response; he said it because – for him (and me) – it’s entirely normal and something to be proud of. Which, of course, is entirely true.

Adoption is an entire legitimate way to form a bond of love in a family setting. When I first decided to adopt, I knew that I would need to adjust my mind-set to a simple fact; my son had had life experiences before me, and i needed to be respectful of them – and of the fact that he was going to be the son of a single parent, which he’d never experienced before. I’m most certainly not perfect, but I do try and keep those simple facts close to my heart.

How Bryan interprets and understands his adoption as he grows up will be, in part, due to our conversations and discussions, but also down to him; I know of people who have been adopted who don’t ever give it a thought as adults, and others who think and talk about it a lot. I’m not saying either way is right or wrong, and I genuinely don’t know which side of the swing I’d settle on if that was me – I’ll learn from Bryan on that score as he grows up.

But he goes back to school on Monday for a week, and I will have to restrain him from running off well ahead just to get there more quickly. If you see me struggling to keep up on the way, please be kind!