Matthew Munson: A time of wings being stretched

Bryan and Matthew

Wings are being stretched in the Munson house this week – Bryan has had a long day at Thorpe Park, and also spent part of Saturday evening at a dance rehearsal with his friends. I watched from afar while also catching up on some odds and ends that I’ve been putting off for ages, and it’s been lovely to see him interact with his friends; it’s wonderful to see your child make friends, especially if they’re decent – and Bryan’s making some good choices.

I was a very shy child, and struggled to make friends – I think we all do at some point, especially in adulthood; we grown-ups can often find it hard to say, “Will you be my friend?” It just kind of happens over time, and our relationships with people evolve; I’ve been fortunate to make a couple of new friends recently, having previously lost a couple, so I’m pleased to know new people and build on the foundations we’ve already got.

It feels like we’re moving into a new phase, Bryan and I; he’s 12 now and really enjoying his life. He is savouring relationships with his friends and his siblings, and I accept that means less time that we spend together – but the time we do spend together is far more precious as a result, and we have some lovely routines that I savour.

One routine we haven’t observed for ages is baking; we used to do it often when he first came home, but that’s fallen more by the wayside in the last year or two. Life gets in the way. However, we were inspired by his siblings doing some baking recently, so decided to put some time on Sunday aside.

I’m not a natural baker, that much is certain, but it’s a lovely excuse to spend time with my son; it’s possible there could be some sort of baking collapse (of the cake, not of me – I hope), but in all honesty, I don’t care. It’s my chance to have something to do with Bryan that’s away from screens and everything else – that’s our little thing, and I’m really glad to be doing it, no matter the outcome.

I’m actually writing this before the baking begins, so I can’t guarantee what it will look like. I was meant to bring home some odds and sods to help with the baking, but I managed to leave them at Bryan’s rehearsal studio – which was incredibly intelligent of me. So we’re going to Plan B this week, and popping to Tesco to find something to bake that doesn’t require the bits and pieces I left behind, and we’ll bake the original cake next weekend instead. It shows that, despite my best efforts, I’m not perfect – god knows I’m definitely not that – and that my son is endlessly patient and understanding.

September is going to be exciting, with another new phase in my life; university begins (part-time) for me, and year eight for Bryan – we both have new challenges, so it’s really important that we carve out these moments where we enjoy each others’ company. He will – rightly – want to spend time with friends, his grandparents, and school as well as me, and I want him to; he deserves to have a good social life, and I want him to enjoy his life. I also will be spreading my own wings through work and education, and I’m excited by that.

I really wanted to go to university when I was 18. But, if I’m being completely honest, I don’t think I was entirely ready – emotionally, at least. It was overwhelming and scary, so I’m glad I quit; there’s certainly no shame in doing that, and it was absolutely the right thing for me to do all those years ago.

Knowing how to parent changes over the years; I have to change my style of parenting as Bryan gets older, as I – rightly – mustn’t treat him like the eight year old boy he was when he first came home. He’s now 12, and remains an amazing young man; but that’s the difference – he’s now a young man, not a child, and I must respect him as such. Being a parent remains the best thing I’ve ever done, and what a privilege to know we’ll continue to forge a relationship as he grows.


  1. It’s fantastic to read your articles each week and enlightening to see how modern you both are in your outlook on life. Bryan has a good home and I am so pleased to know you are doing this on your own as some people may be reluctant to try. Bryan is a lovely young man and this will be down to his home life and upbringing.
    I do not comment every week but normally just follow your story from the sidelines. Well done Matthew !

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