I started this blog back in the Bad Old Dark Days of 2012.
Just diagnosed with MS after long, agonising months of full-blown symptoms, The Teenager was also at the start of High School.
We were yet to face the full force of my eventual legal employment battle, although the bullying I was enduring at work was horrific.
I had to squeeze in my first Alemtuzumab treatment when The Teenager was on holiday with his father, and I had less than 48 hours to recover and appear ‘mum’ before he came home. It wasn’t ideal, but we made it work. Three times in total.
Looking back, we both had to grow up pretty quickly, The Teenager a lot more so than me. I was/am a single divorced parent, shouldering the vast majority of care. He was vulnerable, unsure of his place in the world. The once active parent he was accustomed to was a distant memory as I struggled with ever-worsening mobility.
And that’s the thing – this blog has always been about both of us; MS does not exist in a vacuum – it touches everyone around you. We argued, fell out, sulked, argued some more, but ultimately, we always met somewhere in the middle, after discussion, time and a lot of readjustment. I was adamant that his childhood would be as minimally disturbed as possible. A big ask.
Readers who have followed our story from the beginning will remember the School Uniform Wars, his very short-lived job as a newspaper boy, the endless rugby mud, his tantrums and the moments of blinding self-awareness. Our cottage, our cats and the low ceilings (he’s now well over six foot tall) have all featured, and will hopefully continue to do so.
He came with me to my first march against austerity, although a little embarrassed. He’s been to award ceremonies for our blog in London and visited Amsterdam twice to take part in a hack with MS firmly at it’s centre. He took his Google Maps and aged 15, worked his way around the Dutch city so well that he guided a bunch of mates a couple of years later for a mini-break.
I could go on, but I won’t as he would be modest. He knows he’s amazing and he knows that you guys know it too. We sometimes posted queries, asking for advice and you answered quickly and with a lot of common sense, especially when he was going through a really hard time a couple of years back.
So here we are. August. The Boss’s birthday, then mine, then Christopher’s. It will be odd not to refer to The Teenager. Someone wisely suggested calling him the Ex-Teenager and I quite like that.
On the cusp of 20, the only thing I can do is thank him for being so open to new experiences, so willing to go through difficult times and come out the other end wiser, more confident and a son I am so very, very proud of.