Matthew Munson: Childhood memories and entering pre-teen years

Matthew and Bryan

Can you remember much from your childhood? I can remember certain things (family, school, being a total nerd – some things never change), and I sometimes wonder what Bryan will remember of his childhood when he’s an adult. There was obviously a long period when he wasn’t living with me, so there could well be memories from his foster families, or even from before that.

But what will he remember from his childhood with me? Playing cards endlessly when he first moved home? The six-month lockdown and the lessons I tried to teach him? Me occasionally being grumpy when he’s not picked his socks up off the floor? Maybe he’ll remember the quiet times too – the family times we just spent contentedly together where not huge, thrilling things happened, but where we spent time as a family enjoying a relaxing day together.

Bryan has told me that he wants to be a dad himself one day, but he only wants two children because any more would be too much work. Alright … Personally, one is enough work for me, but each to their own, Bryan. We are getting ready for a couple of significant events; Bryan begins his SATs on Monday, and I know he’ll be fine. He’s had lots of reassurance from me, his grandparents, and his teacher, and there’s no pressure coming from anyone; as long as he tries his best, then he’ll have nothing but my utmost support.

The other thing that’s happening is that his secondary school is organising a series of sessions for Bryan and me to attend over six weeks in order for Bryan to get a taste of lessons in different subject areas, and for me to meet the subject teachers and leaders. Bryan is both nervous and excited by these sessions – nervous, I suspect, because these sessions make it more real that he won’t be at Bromstone come September, and excited because he gets to see his new school in more detail and learn some new facts, which is something he cares very deeply about.

I’m excited for him as well, as I know he will find his feet at St George’s just as much as he did at Bromstone, and these sessions will give him the freedom to start exploring his new educational life and hopefully reduce his anxieties. I’m also sad to see him leaving Bromstone; as much as anything else, it marks the end of one phase of his life, and the beginning of another, older phase. He’s no longer a child but a pre-teen now.

Children grow up, whether we as parents want them to or not. I’ve tried all the tricks I know to try and stop Bryan growing up, but nothing seems to work. Given that the tricks consist entirely of me telling Bryan to stop growing, I’m not entirely surprised that he’s disobeying my demands.

Bryan is excited about growing up in some ways (weren’t most kids?), and is curious about puberty and teenager-dom. I answer his questions as honestly and openly as I can and reassure him that it’s all perfectly normal; I celebrate his desire to learn and experience this new time in his life, although I’m also sad that a particular portion of his life is beginning to evolve – he’s a brilliant child, full of questions and energy, and I’d love to bottle that.

But it happens whether we want it to or not, so I roll with the changes rather than rail against something that can’t be stopped. Bryan is an endlessly-fascinating human being, and he seems to still want to spend time with me at the moment, which is nice – although you might not realise that when you see him running off into the school grounds without so much as a backward look.

This weekend, I’m treating him to a trip to the cinema and a walk in the sunshine afterwards; but most importantly, I’m spending time with my son, and there’s simply nothing better than that.

1 Comment

  1. Cherish all that happens, good and not so good as before you know it Bryan will be discovering a world beyond the comfort of home on his own or with his friends. It is heart-warming to hear how you would like to bottle it all though. You just need to savour each day as it comes and get the best you can from them. Bryan is always going to see and acknowledge what you have done to improve his life for him and you will always be his Dad.

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