Matthew Munson: The summer holidays have flown by… and now onto a new phase

Bryan decided to have a tidy up at Asda

Blimey; those summer holidays went fast. It’s been lovely, but half the things I wanted to do over the past six weeks just didn’t get done – we have definitely run out of time, but on the other hand, we got to visit Bryan’s siblings, have a trip away to London, and spend some time in Folk Week. Overall, it’s been a lovely six weeks, and it’s flown by far more quickly than I imagined it would.

We begin a new chapter soon; Bryan spreads his wings a little more and goes to a secondary school. We’ve been talking about him getting to school without me (he wants to start from day one, and I’ve compromised by phasing it in from the first full week at school), and how to stay safe as he starts to use a laptop and the internet for school work. We’ve had a lot of conversations about how to stay safe, and I suspect he’s getting a little bored – but we’ll continue with the conversations, although I’m not worried to the point where I won’t let him do these things. He’s a growing human being and needs to learn how to live in the world, not observe it from the outside.

This last week, Bryan had a chat with me and asked if I would be okay with him calling me “Dad” instead of “Daddy”. I was fine with that, of course; it’s entirely his choice, and it’s the sort of age where these changes will start to happen. Since that chat, he’s alternated between the two – three and a half years of habitually calling me “Daddy” can’t be changed overnight, and I’m going at his pace.

I do feel a little tinge of sadness – I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t feel like that – but only because I’m saying goodbye to Bryan’s childhood years and am conscious that we are approaching an unknown era. Just as I have established the ground rules around our family life, I’m conscious that we’re going to need to consider redoing things over the next few years.

Bryan deserves normal teenage experiences, but also has every right to feel safe and happy. I’ve decided to approach by talking to Bryan a lot about it; we’re both going to make mistakes, I’ve told him, and we both need to learn from them – but I want him to feel confident in talking to me and opening up. He won’t always, and that’s when I hope good friends step in; I talk to him a lot about friendship and what good friends look like. He knows, of course deep down, he knows – and I hope those good friends help him if he wants to get their advice on a particular issue. I will always be there for my amazing son, but I want to make sure that he’s choosing good people who will also be there for him.

Bryan starts back at school on Thursday of this coming week, and I’m not working that day or Friday – not because I’m intending to spend both days crying into a cup of hot cocoa, but because I want to finish off a couple of jobs in our flat that are always difficult to organise when a child is asking for your time and attention. That’s going to be nice in itself; I will get some time to myself, and Bryan will have some time with old and new friends. Being just the two of us, it’s really important to protect our relationship by spending time apart as well as together. I get to organise and tidy our home, and he gets to start learning his way around his new school; I can’t complain at either of those things.

I’m keeping the last few days before school restarts as calm as possible; on Monday, we’re having a day entirely at home, and on Tuesday / Wednesday, we’re hosting a visit from his siblings, which will be a joyous affair, and will also distract Bryan a little from the nerves he’s feeling about his new school. His siblings are beautiful people, and it’s a privilege to get the three of them together. Actually, those days might not be quite so calm, but that’s not a problem; it’s family.

I’ll end with something that made me smile. We popped into Asda briefly on Saturday morning, and as we crossed the car park, Bryan found some trolleys that hadn’t been put in the correct places (by other shoppers, I presume). As a result, we had to spend five or ten minutes on Bryan’s “clean-up” duties, and he did a brilliant job. All I wanted were some strawberries …

1 Comment

  1. Bryan will I am sure gain more independence and gain more confidence when mixing with others especially when starting secondary school.
    You have been building up stepping stones and stairs together, if he can talk to you about what’s troubling him am sure with problem solving.

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