He calls himself ‘the Chosen One’, standing in front of the mirror above the fireplace in my sitting room. The hair is in constant play. He flicks the fringe with either a toss of his head – reminding me of a horse clearing hair and flies from his face - or with a sweep of his hand.
He is good-looking, I’ll give him that, and when he smiles his dimples wink at you and his teeth are strong and white, shining. I envy him his confidence and then feel proud, for surely he would not be as confident if I had not instilled that self-belief in him.
‘You can do anything. Be anything you want to be. All you have to do is firmly believe in yourself, acknowledge your own limitations and f*** the begrudgers’.
Have I done the right thing? Sometimes I fear for him, fear the landing he might get when that first disappointment comes – as it will – for luck also plays a part. But then I realize that I have prepared him for that too. Prepared him for reality, which is just as well considering the world we live in.
I also hope I have made him aware of other people, their feelings and how he must live in the world with others. I think I’ve succeeded there. He is immensely popular, a huge circle of friends both male and female. They tease and slag each other with that teenage cruelty that horrifies us as parents. But where did they learn such cruelty? Is it innate in us all? We talked, the Chosen One and I of this and we agreed that there is a meanness in humanity, only the very, very young and those special souls who may appear ‘simple’ to our sophisticated eyes appear not to have this trait.
Is that what makes us human? Or divine? Battling that tiny voice inside that suggests cruelties, both great and small. It was an interesting discussion, one I would not have been able to have at sixteen. Sixteen. Jesus, I can still remember vividly my waters breaking when he decided to arrive a little early. Always in a hurry – he couldn’t wait to be born to start on his path. He has been running away from me ever since. I hope he’ll either slow down or I speed up and we can walk companionably at least some part of the way.
Happy birthday son.