For a while I was worried about what my role as mother would be now that Jack isn't so much of a little boy. He's at high school, and on Saturdays he'd often grumble when I offered to take him to the park, and he stopped crawling into my bed for cuddles, he began to have lie-ins. Or occupy himself with something else like TV or his DS.
Of course, I wanted to continue to do the same old playful stuff with him, but those suggestions now seem babyish. I fretted that this was the beginning of a decline, and soon I'd be losing him to his wolfish teens; that adolescence would come along and howl at me, and gnash his teeth, and they'd both stomp off into the distance for the next decade.
So far, we seem to be doing OK. I've recently discovered that we can do new things together - like go to concerts; we went to see Gorillaz, which we both loved. And then we went to a book launch. Which we both loved. And then we went to see a Greek tragedy, The Bacchae, which we both loved, and more recently to a Hallé family concert, which was almost too young for him, but he really loved it. He might soon be ready for a grown up Hallé concert. Instead of saying 'no I'm too busy,' I'll try to join in with him watching Scrubs, or Friends, or playing 'angry birds' on my IPhone. I also try - but fail - to get into games consoles. I'm learning about rugby too, because everything at the moment is about rugby.
All this isn't miles away from spending quality time with your children when they are babies; like teaching them to eat, or playing with toys in the bath, or Lego, or Play Doh. Only, it seems frivolous to waste away hours on enjoyable and youthful activities. Yet, it's not. Jack will talk and talk to me. If there is trouble, he picks up the phone and calls me. When he is happy he picks up the phone and calls me. I don't ever want him to feel like he can't; as long as we can keep talking he'll be OK.
Laying down the road now in time for when he is almost a grown-up is so very important to me; it's prevention rather than cure. It will be too late when he is fourteen and towers a foot above me to start laying down the law. When he wants to duck off to his room too often, I remind him that we spend time together as a family. When I need to work, he's welcome to hang out on the sofa and do something else as I tap tap away. If I work late, he often sits there with me.
Right now, he's gone to bed. I'll pop upstairs to wish him goodnight as he reads to himself. He isn't too old for a goodnight kiss; though I suppose I should knock first - rather than burst through the door.