It’s my son’s 16th Birthday today. 16 years ago I was a completely different person. My little bundle of joy, and need, and wind, and poo, was about to arrive and change my life forever.

16 years. I was 32. I’d been married just over a year. Been in our house for two. The house was much smaller than it is now. I, on the other hand, was HUGE! A tiny 7lb baby and I’d managed to somehow gain almost 4 stone. I’m surprised he didn’t come out looking like a chunky KitKat!

16 years. Maternity leave stretching ahead of me. Sat contemplating what life would be like (it was all very organised as I had a Caesarean section due to him being breech. He has always liked to buck the trend). I had taken the planning for his arrival to ridiculous levels. Mrs Extreme strikes again! Pages and pages of handwritten feeding charts, buoyed on by the immense amount literature I had read. Get into a routine immediately. Don’t let people pass him around. Feed at these times only. Leave him to cry. Blah blah blah. I was going to be the ‘perfect’ mum and do it 150% right. Ha! 4 months later, post natal depression in full swing, it was not quite as I anticipated.

16 years. A baby that would not stop crying in the day. A life at home I struggled to get used to. Missing work, missing my social life. Feeling like I hadn’t bonded with my baby. He was all I’d ever wanted in life and I couldn’t enjoy it. We made it through those dark days. I refer to a particularly bad period as ‘Bleak January’. We survived together. He was an adorably cute toddler. Blonde curls and such fun and energy. Learning to walk. Learning to swim. Learning to be a person in his own right.

16 years. 15 of them spent drinking. Increasing amounts as the years went on. It’s 5pm, is it too early to start? It’s a Wednesday evening, I’ll open a bottle … end of my working week now. Out for lunch dates with mums. Glass or two of Prosecco to wash it down. May as well carry on through the evening. So many new friends and a social life that was booming. Dinner parties at home that became drunken evenings of dancing and singing (screaming loudly). It was fun though. The hangovers weren’t. 5am starts, lying on the sofa with him next to me, watching CBeebies. The colours, the enthusiasm of the presenters, the noise! No more hangovers now thankfully. Plus a son that is proud of my sobriety and happily tells all his friends that his mum doesn’t drink.

16 years. Nursery. Primary school. Secondary school. New friends. New hobbies. New sports. Xbox. Swearing. I have never heard such bad language used within one sentence when that machine is on. Suddenly he is 5ft 10 with size 9 feet and so very independent. Planning driving next year. Planning a law degree. Planning his own life.

16 years. Two children. Two extensions. Three guineapigs. Countless hangovers. 324 days of sobriety. One period of post natal depression. One diagnosis of anxiety and depression. 2 promotions. One pandemic. One caravan. Two amazing trips to the US. 16 of my own birthdays. Too many nativity performances and school assemblies. One life.

16 years. 16 glorious, tough, exhausting, amazing, rewarding, challenging, phenomenal years. I’m grateful for them all. Happy Birthday lovely boy. Thank you. 😊

Claire x


52 thoughts on “Sixteen”

  1. Awwww! How lovely, Claire! You’re clearly very proud of your son, and he of you, despite (maybe a little ‘because of’) the hard times. Happy birthday to him!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I loved this post! I can identify with being SO organized and ready for what I THOUGHT becoming a parent was going to look like. And then… reality… 🙂 Mine are almost 4 and 2 now but the time is a flash.

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    1. Having children teaches us that we can’t control everything in life. That’s a difficult lesson for a control freak like me! It goes so quickly. I love my boys as they are now but I do wish I could experience them little again at times.


  3. Omg his little adorable face. He has the most gorgeous eyes too 🥰.
    Your post made me cry, I cant imagine BB being 16, she’s 1 on Sunday and I’m just teary at that. I bet it goes in a blink. Congratulations on raising such a lovely boy, enjoy the day, I hope you’ve got something lovely planned. And once again congratulations on 324 days of sobriety, its inspirational xxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. I tried to comment on your post just now but it won’t let me and I can’t comment on any of your others. Hoping you haven’t blocked me 😂. Just don’t want you to think I’m ignoring you!!

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  4. Awwww Claire what a beautiful post. Really captures how emotional it is to be a parent, how tough and amazing and how fast it goes. My daughter is only 9 1/2 and I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can before the teen years. And my mind can’t even process my just turned 6 baby boy and what I will do when he no longer wants to cuddle. But I guess every mama finds her way through this…

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    1. Every mama has to for sure. It’s not easy though. I miss those days badly sometimes. But I guess we can’t keep them small forever, they need to grow up and enjoy all the things life has to offer. Xx

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  5. Wonderful post, Claire! So beautifully expressed. I’m glad your son is proud of you. That’s one of the best feelings. Happy birthday to son, and to you, mama! 💕

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  6. Just a lovely post! Boy he is sooooo cute! My first born was a constant crier too. All day/all night. Tried lots of things, lactose intolerance….still cried constantly to the point of having to walk away for sanity. I feel for you on that as it’s one of the hardest things to have to deal with! I love your son recognizes your sobriety, that’s really special. Made me smile this morning! Well, this whole post did.❤️❤️❤️❤️ Also-So special you got a couple hugs and a kiss! That’s the BEST!!
    Also-“rare as hens teeth“ made me 😂 Never beard that before!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah thanks lovely. Yep, the hugs and kisses were special. He was a crier though. Never bloody stopped unless I was pushing him in his pram! I walked for miles in all weathers just for peace. ❤️❤️❤️

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  7. Happy birthday to your gorgeous boy! It goes in a flash doesn’t it but seeing them grow into their lives has its rewards and heartache too! Wonderful he’s so proud of you and shares it with his friends – that’s a real treasure for you! 💞💞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know. I love seeing him grow and develop. I love his sense of humour and his kindness. I just wish I could have those little boy cuddles though ❤️❤️


  8. 💕I also had many ideas of what mom Anne would be like. Lol,silly me.

    My kids are 17 and 15. I have been sober for almost 7 of those years. Before that my life sounded just like yours. Too much social drinking, anxiety and depression, managing, but not thriving.

    It’s funny to imagine in a few years those babies will be living their own lives and I guess us moms return to being child free. I can’t quite imagine…

    He is adorable. I bet he is a cute 16 year old!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. He is a super cute 16 year old. I know … I don’t know how I survived those years drinking, working, being a mum and socialising. They took their toll. I can’t imagine the years ahead either. The only thing we know for sure is that change will happen. We have to be at our best to deal with it! 😊

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  9. Aw, how amazingly precious! My kids aren’t teenagers yet. I can only imagine what it is like seeing them reach those milestones! 16 is a big one. Hormones are wild after giving birth. Sounds like you guys have been through a lot together! I’m glad you sober and are doing so well now. ❤ 🙂

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  10. wow what a beautiful post and what a journey motherhood seems to be! Happy belated birthday to him, and Clairem congrats on being SO CLOSE to the 365 year mark 🙂 xxx lots of love ❤ xxx Anne

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post, Claire! What a trip, eh? I always heard about the love between a parent and a child, but never “got it” till those days when my two kiddos came into this world. At that very moment each time I finally realized what true unconditional love was all about. A love I would lay down my life for. Happy 16 years to both your son and you. I totally get it that it definitely wasn’t easy by a long shot, but you my friend are shining now 💫 🌟 ⭐️ . We’re getting so much better with age. Sending much ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love them both with all my heart and soul Dwight. Sometimes I think I disengage a little because I’m scared I’ll overwhelm them with my emotions and maybe in preparation for them flying the nest. I bet you are a great Dad my friend ❤️

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