Today Lew turned 17.
17! I know I say this every single year but wow, where has the time gone? 17! You are almost a man. I just can’t believe it. A pretty lovely man, at that.
16 saw you moving from a fair bit of anxiety about change and trying new things into a space of more acceptance and an attitude for having a go even when it feels hard or beyond you. You started Ju Jitsu later in the year and found a new passion. I love seeing you enjoy what you’re doing and when you finish a Ju Jitsu class you certainly have a smile on your face, along with a sweaty, exhausted body.
I’ve enjoyed seeing your enjoyment for wood work flourish this year. You’ve made some really cool stuff, the latest being a chook house extension. Jo, your woodwork teach has such a cool way about her. She treats you like equals and she’s the perfect unschooling mentor although she doesn’t even realise it.
You pushed yourself with your filming this year when you and Ben and Ptol entered your short film into the Yooftube competition. Seeing that on the big screen at the Picture Showman Cinema was an awesome experience as your mum and I know you felt pretty happy that you guys won Best Documentary on the night. It’s been so nice watching you guys work together on your film ideas.
Your artwork continues to amaze me. Your desire to become a comic book artist is strong and most days you work hard at bettering your skills. You have a pretty critical view of yourself as an artist and it bothers me to see it in you. I want you to share your ark work more with the public and get some feedback from people outside your mum and closest family and friends. I think then you will see a little more of what we all see.
Wow, you surprised me this year with your interest in American politics. It was a wild, wild year, of all years, to get into that but get into it you did. Your opinions on politics are definitely different to mine and we’ve had quite a few debates over the past 12 months about our somewhat opposing ideas but I’m really impressed that you have such a strong mind of your own and that you’ve developed your own views based on research you’ve done yourself. I can see that unschooling has served you well in that regard and helped you become your own, free-thinking person as opposed to a replica of me and my views.
You got a bit hair obsessed while you were 16. You grew your hair really long and loved it. Prided yourself on it. Then suddenly you cut it all off! I got the shock of my life when I saw your long hair shaved off. One moment you had long hair. I went into to town for no more than an hour. I arrive home to a 16 year old with a shaved head. Everyday since that day you have complained about having short hair and regretted your hair cut. I like it better short.
Not long after, Ben decided he wanted a change and organised you to cut his hair too.
So, now that your days of being 16 have come to an end, what do I want for you over this fresh, new year of being 17?
I want you to be happy. I want you to enjoy your passions. I want you to find the focus that you feel you need to push your drawing career to the next level. I want you to continue trying new things and challenging yourself with some of the anxieties about change that you feel. I want you to get your license. I want you to listen more to what other’s have to say. I want you to have a fun, final year of childhood. I want you to feel good in your own skin and to be able to appreciate the wonderfulness I see in your nature that you don’t seem to see.
What I want for me, as your mum? I want to allow you to have the wings to fly. I want to feel happy about your future and your independence instead of feeling teary about the loss of your vanishing childhood. I want to be able to know how much to push you with encouragement to get through that barrier which anxiety can put up around you, but not pressure you to the point of causing more anxiety. I want to hold back my opinions and feedback a bit more. I want to be a better listener. I want to be a calm passenger driving facilitator.
That last one is going to be a challenge.
Happy Birthday to you, my precious 17 year old son. May it be a wonderful, beautiful, fun, peaceful year ahead for you.
I love you with all of my heart.