Matthew Munson: Enjoying the Easter break

Bryan and Matthew

This week has marked the first week of the Easter school holidays, although I’ve been working for a portion of it, so I can’t entirely pretend to have noticed the difference in the early part of the week.

Bryan went to a holiday camp for a couple of days, which he always enjoys; it keeps him active, and usually tires him out (never a bad thing for an active child). I missed him, of course, but it gave him a chance to socialise with children – pre-teens – his own age, and I love knowing he has those opportunities. He also had a day with his nan and granddad, who he adores; he even got to do an extra dance rehearsal this week for an upcoming exam, which pleased him no end.

Easter Friday was a genuine pleasure; I got to spend some quality time with him down at the Food Festival in Broadstairs and at home. We visited a pop-up shop where Bryan was tempted by chocolate and fudge, and I organised an Easter egg hunt at home; even at 12, he’s not too old for a hunt for chocolate (or so he tells me). The Food Festival is always so incredibly busy, which is great for the town; it tells me how much home working I actually do when the busy surroundings of the food festival get a bit overwhelming. Still, there was a lot of good food there, so I wasn’t likely to complain.

On Saturday, Bryan and I attended an event to mark International Roma Day – a cause close to our hearts. I’m actually writing my column a little bit before we attend, because we’re slightly busy afterwards, so I’ll have to tell you how that went next week. He also has a second Easter egg hunt at his nan and granddad’s on Sunday, so that’ll please him no end – more chocolate; oh dear.

I’ve kept this weekend fairly easy-going, as we’re up in London next week as a late birthday present – showing just how much he is growing up, Bryan wanted a couple experiences this year as opposed to material things, which I certainly wasn’t going to argue with. He chose something fun and exciting, and I’ll let you know if I survive the experience; I’ll be exhausted by the end of the first day, I suspect.

I watch Bryan grow up and marvel at how much he has changed. The little boy who first came home four years ago has gone, to be replaced by a pre-teen who is still precious to me. His core personality is still the same, and that’s wonderful; it means he remains kind, loving, and thoughtful. I am continuing to learn how to parent, and I don’t mean that sarcastically; it’s entirely truthful. Parenting a pre-teen is different to parenting a child, and parenting a teen will be different again; I can’t – I mustn’t – treat Bryan as a child anymore, no matter how much I want him to stop growing up (both literally and emotionally). He’s different to how I was at 12, so I can’t draw entirely on my own experiences, but I start from the basis that he’s a human being who I love dearly, and work outwards from there.

I used to plan and organise a lot of activities for him – for us – when he was young; he was a sponge for new experiences and new information. In a way, he still is, but he’s also that little bit more independent; he’s confident in the love of his family, and knows we’re not going anywhere, so he can broaden his wings a little bit.

At the food festival on Friday, I momentarily lost sight of him as the crowds milled around us, and I felt a growing sense of panic as two … three … four seconds went past. But then the crowds parted, and there Bryan was, smiling at me as he waved “Here I am.” I needn’t have worried; the fact I did means I’m just a normal parent, I suspect, but he knew where I was and was just sensibly waiting for me to track him down. We learn from our children on so many occasions.

From both Bryan and I, have a lovely Easter; enjoy the beginnings of Spring, and savour the time you spend out in the sunshine.