This morning, Henry, you surprised me again.
In a nice way.
As I went downstairs to put the kettle on, you were in the doorway of your room, dressed and with a huge smile. ‘Yay, breakfast!’ you cried.
You were the boy who never ate breakfast, least of all cereal.
When you came to live with me and Shellie in December, the first month or two involved arguments about getting you to even understand how important breakfast was. I know you don’t like cereal, but when I said all there was was Coco Pops, you seemed happy. No moans or pleas for bacon and cheese wraps or hot croissants.
And this is how it goes with you, Henry, aged 10 and a half. The Wild Boy of Cyprus, the anarchic would-be teenager, the boy who wouldn’t do what he was asked…appears to have vanished. With a baby brother or sister due any day, you will make a superb older brother.
You’re doing brilliantly at school. They are so amazed with your attitude that you have been chosen to have additional lessons in the morning, competition for which is intense. Your teacher says anyone would be hard-pressed to realise you have only been a member of your student group since January. That’s an amazing effort. Your certificates for learning show your desire to learn and happiness to learn.
That attitude is what marks you out as special. For so long it was hidden and unfortunately your mum, who did so much for you out in Cyprus, suffered, as did people around you.
Despite this, every one of us were still proud of you, still loved you, still hoped one day the penny would drop. That day has arrived.
We’ve had the arguments. Yes, you didn’t want to brush your teeth every morning. Yes, you didn’t see the point of washing your hands after every trip to the toilet or before every meal. Yes, you didn’t like eating breakfast.
You do all of them now, and often rush to do them. Since we bought your noisy Star Wars toothbrush I know how well you’re cleaning your teeth!
You say ‘excuse me’ please and wait instead of interrupting our conversations. You say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ like those words are the most fashionable in the dictionary. We see the real love pouring out of you.
You do what you’re asked to do.
So I question why you can still surprise me.
I’m still learning as a parent and making mistakes. I have the loving support of Shellie and the social work teams we’ve asked to help us have told us we provide a loving, nourishing home for you and Zane, your step-brother, who is also making huge positive steps forward.
You’ve fast become the beating heart of our little family. The positive influence you’ve had over Zane is tremendous.
I’m so proud of you.
We’re so proud of you.
The whole family is proud of you.