Now you are seven

Dear Arthur,

Seven years old! Seven times around the sun.

It feels like a significant birthday this one.

I sensed it as it crept up on us in the closing months of last year: you were leaving your early childhood behind; getting ready for a new phase, a new beginning.

You have a surety within yourself that is new. You are aware of your uniqueness, and your place in the world. At times that’s brought with it darkness and anxiety – not least because of your growing understanding of the challenges we and our planet have to face. Mostly though it has filled you up with cleverness and humour, even more than you had before.

You are canny and brave, an expert negotiator and a creative powerhouse. Your imagination has leapt to yet another level, and I adore the glimpses I get into your play – the hours and hours spent delving into fantastical worlds, on your own or with others.

Those friendships, actually, are one of the very best things to come out of this year. You love – and are loved – so fiercely. You are kind, and generous, and interesting, and funny.

Your brother still has the ability to test you to your limits. I know how much you cherish him, how far you would go to protect him – and yet I see how frustrated you can become in his presence, how there are still moments when you wish you were the only one. He brings out the best and the worst in you. It’s a big part of what family is all about I’m afraid.

And I reckon you definitely bring out the best in me. I cannot tell you how much I value the rare times we get to spend alone together, though I think you know – because you value it, too. We should do it more (I know I say that a lot), but you should know that even when we don’t get that time to ourselves I am thinking of you always. And that seven years of carrying your heart alongside my own has transformed me: as a mother, and as a person.

But this isn’t about me.

This is about you, my first-born son, with your Doctor-inspired three piece suits and your wild lion’s mane. It’s about the way you still slip your hand in mine when we cross the road but will disappear for hours the moment we get to the woods. It’s about the way you initiate debates about the existence of god, delving into science books for information about evolution, but will unquestioningly inhabit imaginary realms when you find a story that speaks to you.

As you take these next steps on your adventure I hope you will hold on to your innocence and your wisdom, to your sense of the truth. This world can be a tough one to fathom sometimes, but it is full of magic too if you know where to look.

You taught me that. And if ever you forget I will be here to remind you.

All my love for always,

Mummy xxx

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