13: The project that got away by Jacqui Booth

Some projects fall by the wayside, this was one, though it did carry on for a few months until life took over in different ways.

Today, R is 15 and to have a record of him morphing daily into this proto adult would have been pretty amazing, but I acknowledge that it was a tall order and there were many other things to do. I became aware, particularly as the year went on, that I was mainly taking a snap before running out of the door. It was a difficult time. But it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of hope, does it?


And so it begins. My youngest child is 13.  And age arbitrarily plucked out of the ether as significant. He's a boy, my 2nd. My eldest child will turn 16 soon and has been taking up most of my attention to be fair.  He's good company and has exams coming up. This leaves this child, as usual, a little overlooked.  He amuses himself well.  He is difficult to spend time with unless you share his obsessions.  Today is a milestone as he's spent most of it with a friend. C is still here, playing games on the PC in a downstairs room whilst R plays on his own PC upstairs. This is their fun.

I am his mother. I do not know him entirely.  He is a child of the internet, of frustrations, of his obsessions and of school.  He is a child that likes to avoid things if he possibly can.  I am waiting for him to mature now - to turn the corner into being an adult.  I can't remember when it should happen, but it needs to soon.  I shall mourn the loss of my little boy. Today I perhaps feel more emotional about it than I ever have.  I accept it and I shall cope.  He needs to grow and I shall be there to help him.  Hanging around, on call, for when I'm wanted most intensely.  Hanging back to give him the space he needs otherwise.  Discovering which of the gaps I can use for myself and how.  Unravelling. Negotiating this new reality. Gently ushering him towards becoming a man I'm happy to call my son.

He has surprised me by agreeing to be part of this project, even by being imaginative and enthusiatic. There will be a photo a day. A photo that seems suitable for us, that day.  He won't always look happy.  They may not be flattering to our relationship. They will change over time. We may get bored. But we will try and we hope to be honest to you, the onlooker, without oversharing.

I'm sure the idea isn't unique. I don't know when or how I shall share it. It is a story of a mother and her son. We shall influence each other throughout but I hope that it will be an insight into our story and an irreplaceable account of this female mammal rearing her male offspring.

13 No.1 Canon 7d

We're at the Great Central Railway.  It's his 13th birthday and we've been here many times before.  This place will soon be obliterated to make way for an extension to the line.  He knows I love it here and never complains about me poking around, taking photos.  He skips onto some steps. They're a smidge dangerous but he's okay.  We like the Sleeper logo and he chooses a pose intended to mock the tangerine horror of the recently inaugerated Donald Trump, who is both a figure of fun and something genuinely scary to him.

It's going to be a roller coaster of a year.