So long time no posting. However, today marks an auspicious day as it is A’s 16th birthday! It is hard to believe that 16 years ago today I was on a flight back to UK from Cyprus (after a somewhat desperate search for flights) having tuned into my mobile phone and discovered 8 voicemail messages from my Father-in-Law recounting in increasingly concerned tones the likely and unexpectedly early arrival of my first born.
In the event I had found a flight back from Larnaca airport to Heathrow where I was met by my Sister (who unbeknown to both of us at that time was pregnant with A’s cousin N) who drove me at breakneck speed through a torrential downpour to Southmead Hospital where “Boy R” (he had arrived before we could name him and would remain that way for a number of days!) was relaxing in the Neonatal ICU and his Mother was recovering from the shock of his arrival 6 weeks early and being a boy rather than the widely anticipated girl!
As far as I can recall A. weighed in at 5lb 6oz and was not only very titchy but also long and thin. He is still long and thin but is now over 6 foot – his arms and legs are longer than mine (although he still has a bit to go to catch up height-wise) which gives him a considerable advantage during our games of table tennis (a present from his birthday last year and still proving popular).
A. has a map on his bedroom wall – acquired during the Summer holidays earlier this year when we were visiting Oxford – which allows him to scratch off the countries that he has been to. He was able to make an early start to his collection of countries visited when we moved as a family to Hong Kong when he was 22 months (in fact just before we left, he had also been to France on a holiday involving both sets of Grandparents for an early taste of Europe) and he has not looked back having lived in the Far East (HK) until he was 7 and since then the Middle East (as well as various countries on holiday in between) so he is certainly a lot better travelled than either me or his Mother at the same age.
Whilst a little shyer and more reserved than his younger self, A. is still a very friendly and personable chap with an established circle of friends. As with most teenage boys (it appears) he is seemingly surgically attached to his gadgets and devices – he inherited my iphone after I got given one through work which seems to be his go to device if he is not on his playstation (now complete with 50 inch TV and – once it has been delivered as part of his birthday present – a mini-fridge to keep his juice and water cool!).
The last 12 months have seen him pass his Grade 4 Piano (with Distinction) and pass his English Language and Astronomy GCSE’s which is a good start on the exam trail although this year is the big one in terms of the main bulk of his GCSE’s so it will be all hands to the pump at home and school over the next 9 months. However, for today, we can wish him a very happy birthday and look forward to a weekend of sleepovers and cake!