My son is ten years old - how did that happen? He's a pre-teen, for goodness sake! He does what pre-teens do - he goes to bed too late at weekends, sleeps too late, plays on his computer, is completely oblivious to mess and avoids showers unless absolutely necessary.
He was my first baby, and when he was placed in my 23 year old arms, I had no idea how much he would change my life and my heart forever. I had read the books, taken the classes and bought far more stuff than I would ever possibly need, but what I didn't expect was the emotional impact. Not just the sleep deprivation, the paranoia that I was doing it all wrong, and the utter shock to the system...I had no idea that as soon as I stepped out of that hospital, the world would suddenly be different to me.
When you become a mother, you feel not just the pain and need of your own child, but the sudden awareness of how helpless and innocent all the world's kids are. I didn't realise that I'd never again be able to watch so much as an advert about a suffering child without a painful tugging at my heart. It changes everything.
Of course, as is the way with first babies, you find yourself wishing it away - you can't wait for the next stage, you will them to grow and change and develop, with no idea just how quickly it will all go. Now, I look back at the last ten years and it seems to have passed in a flash. All those times I would wish for five minutes peace - I had no idea that one day, sooner than I thought, he'd be up in his room asking me to shut the door on the way out because he was busy doing important Minecraft related things!
He'll always be my baby though - no matter how big he gets or how embarrassing my hugs might become! I see him nowadays at nearly the same height as me and I do feel wistful that it all went by in a flash, but the future is just as bright as the past. He's a clever, focused young man who makes us proud every day. I can totally imagine him doing very well for himself in a complicated technological career that I'll struggle to understand, bringing up kids of his own and being a loving and attentive husband to a very lucky young woman.
For now, though, I'll look at him all sleepy eyed when he comes downstairs in his Muppets onesie with the hood up, and I'll remember that he may be getting bigger, but he's still my little boy, and I'll treasure him forever.