Hey there Mr Pants ... or should I stop calling you silly names now? Are you getting too big, too grown up, too sensible?
Of course not. You sat next to me on the sofa this evening and laid your head on my shoulder. Your fabulous mop of fluffy hair tickled my cheek as I turned to you and smiled, and you grinned back at me. "Luff oo." You told me, eyes sparkling, and even as I told you that I loved you too you started the ungainly and uncoordinated process of getting up so you could check your brother and sister hadn't forgotten it's your birthday tomorrow ... since you'd reminded them three minutes ago.
Fourteen - a proper teenager, even though your body hasn't realised that yet. Your little brother towering over you with the slightly darkening hair on his upper lip self consciously proclaiming that the hormones are now well and truly in control in his life. But you - you still have those rounded cheeks of youth, that soft blemish free skin, and feet that somehow don't stink out the room every time we take off your boots.
Fourteen years ago you were taking your own sweet time, already more than three weeks late. But hey, when you started moving you barely let me stop for breath, arriving aided by just a single push, emerging into this world to a midwife with wide eyes and no gloves, unable to believe that you had ben crowning as I waddled into the hospital three minutes earlier, completely incapable of sitting down. The tv in the room was on, and I remember hearing the fake-tanned white-haired plastic-grinned presenter instructing the contestant to "spin the wheel, see what you get!" in a startlingly accurate description of conception as that midwife frowned at your face, calling through the open door to the hallway that she needed help now.
Fourteen years of living and breathing and growing and changing; learning and struggling and watching and waiting; hugging and handholding and smiling and laughing.
You've learned so much over these past twelve months. You've begun to understand the finality of death, in your own way. You've made new friends and missed old friends, reminiscing over times you shared. You've worked hard trying to do the things that are asked of you, even when we can see that you don't understand why.
You played music to an audience at the Colston Hall, and begun to sing along to bits of words of songs you like on the radio. That radio was your birthday present from your dad and I for your last birthday, and you've taken such good care of it, because it brings the music you love right into your hands, under your control.
You have had to deal with so many difficult days, so much pain and fear and confusion and contradiction, but you still smile. You still smile at me every single day. You love the dog and your friends and your books and your music, and you love us - your family - with a simplicity that slides between the cracks of my worries and straight into my heart.
I love you, my gorgeous young man.