Fourteen reasons why…
The boy in the picture is called Charlie. He’s my hero and he turns fourteen years old today. Below are fourteen reasons why I love him so:
1. He was born by caesarian section as he was breached. His sense of direction, or lack of it, was inherited from me. Charlie can get lost in his own house. In fact he regularly does, especially when I need him to help me with something.
2. Had he been a girl he would have been named Stevie. Not after the Liverpool footballer, Steven Gerrard, but after the poet, Stevie Smith. Her most famous work is called, ‘I’m not waving, I’m drowning’. I hope I never make this mistake of thinking he’s waving if he’s drowning.
3. His mother has a habit of wondering off in supermarkets, refusing to follow the flow of the store in favour of a scattergun approach to filling the trolley. When he was a toddler he used to make sure I could always find him again by singing at the top of his voice the entire time we were shopping.
4. When he was around two we went on a family holiday to Egypt. He was really poorly and it was very worrying. I remember shedding a few tears in the shower as the stress of it all became too much.
5. His brother, Max, was born when he was three and a half. The first night we had Max home and, as babies do, he was making a bit of a racket. Charlie came into our room, pointed at his brother and said; “baby crying”. Max has disturbed his peace ever since.
6. Charlie had a minor operation when he was six. His mother was allowed to stay with him as he was placed under general anaesthetic. It devastated her to watch that happen to her ‘baby’. A mother’s love really is like no other.
7. At his leavers assembly from Primary School all the class were asked to put on a show for the parents and the rest of the children. For some reason Charlie got it into his head that he would deliver a short ‘stand up comedy’ routine. All I can say about it is that he was, indeed, standing up.
8. Disappointingly Charlie has never shared his Dad’s passion for football and, in particular, Liverpool FC. I did take him to Anfield once though. Those who know him well will have had personal experience that Charlie is a very inquisitive child. He basically never stops asking questions, although I’m not sure he always listens to the answers. While we were waiting in our seats for the game to begin, things were no different. In the end I said there were to be no more questions unless they were about football. Without missing a beat he asked me how many spaceships could fit in a football stadium? I guessed at three.
9. Charlie is brave. We went swimming once to a place with its own diving pool. I dared him to jump off the very top board (no way would I have done it). Before I knew it I caught sight of him peering over the edge of the board. It was so high I didn’t think he would do it but, just like that, he flung himself off and crashed into the water below.
10. I regularly ask Charlie what he’s going to be when he ‘grows up’. His answers have included; refuse collector, drifter, dog walker and grave digger.
11. We moved house, just as Charlie was leaving Primary School and going to High School. This meant he had to go to a ‘big school’ where he knew nobody. I know he found this very difficult but he took a deep breath and did it. I was proud of him that day, but then I am everyday.
12. I went to pick him up that first day and was getting a little worried when he didn’t appear at the school gate. After a while I saw him crawling through some bushes a little way up the school drive. When he finally got to me and I asked him what he’d been doing his reply was that he didn’t know where the toilets were and had been too shy to ask so he was desperate and had to go in the bush.
13. Charlie is a creature of routine. He likes to make himself a cup of tea and a snack at exactly the same time everyday. As a teenager he doesn’t like to tidy up after himself though.
14. Because he’s Charlie and that’s more than enough…