Written by Sarah Patterson
I’m sure you remember the day we met. It’s pretty hard to forget. Someone (let’s blame your dad) decided the best way for you and I to get acquainted was for the three of us to see a movie together.
There I was: sweating buckets, on the verge on an anxiety attack. There you were: a skinny, brooding teenager looking like you wanted to be anywhere except out on a lame three-way date with your dad and his new girlfriend, and who could blame you?
Awkward doesn’t even begin to describe it.
I still cringe at my pathetic attempts to make you like me. Armed with jumbo bags of lollies and popcorn, I kept asking you if you wanted some, over and over again. Finally you turned to me and politely said “It’s O.K. You don’t have to keep offering me lollies.”
I wished the jelly snakes would swallow me up.
I can’t even imagine how you must have felt when I moved into your home, with you and your dad.
I know how I would have felt. Put out and pissed off. In fact, if I’d been you, I probably would have told me to sod off.
But you’re a better person than me, Beau.
Despite dealing with your mum and dad’s breakup, never once did you make me feel unwelcome. Never once did I hear “You’re not my mother, you can’t tell me what to do.”
Even after I married your dad, I didn’t automatically morph into Carol Brady. Part of me still felt uncomfortable telling you to pick up your clothes or tidy your room.
I watched you on the school debating team. I drove you to Tae Kwon Do. I embarrassed you in front of your mates (remember I called your friend Ferrero, when his name was Rocher?)
Then your baby brother came along. That photo of you holding Hayden that first night in the hospital – still wearing your school blazer – is one of my favourites.
I will never forget the night we brought Hayden home. Still an emotional wreck after giving birth and suddenly aware our family dynamic had changed forever, I burst into floods of tears as I sat at the kitchen bench. “I’ve ruined everything!” I sobbed.
You put your arm around me and pointed out how happy you were to have a little brother and how awesome everything was.
Hayden adored you, always barrelling after you on his chubby little toddler legs, turning your room upside down while you patiently tried to do your homework.
Now you’re all grown up and getting married to the most beautiful young lady. I feel so very proud of you and hope that maybe I had a small part in you becoming the lovely young man you are today.
Years ago, you gave me a photo frame inscribed with the message “If I didn’t have you as a mum, I’d have chosen you as my friend.”
It’s more than I deserve, Beau.
The truth is, you made my job easy.
Love from Sarah.