Oliver’s now the third member of this family to experience a lockdown birthday and just like Peter, my husband, and I, he found it fun and full of love. So much so, he announced after lunch that, ‘this is my best birthday, ever’. Bless him.
Hoping to make his 11th birthday as special as it could be despite being stuck indoors without his pals for company, I rustled up a long birthday party lunch, dressing the table for the occassion, using confetti balloons as table placers along with a vase of silk flowers and red and white straws in glasses of Robisons to add a splash of colour. His favourite colour no less: red (in the same hue as his requested new birthday tracksuit and trainers).
Lunch was roast chicken with all the trimmings followed by penny sweets I’d poured into a Victorian style jar I bought from Amazon and a big slice of Mario birthday cake with coloured-flamed candles. Peter is currently cooking up a prawn linguini for dinner. Oliver’s a fussy eater but these two meals always get the thumbs up and as we can’t go out to eat, we decided to try our best to replicate a restaurant at home instead.
When it came to celebrations, alongside watching the epic Sharknado 4 (the series is intentionally bad and utterly hilarious), Oliver played Roblox with his mates and Facetimed family too. Everyone has been so kind, sending him gift cards, money and messages making the day special.
His younger brother Alexander even gave him £10 note from his pocket money savings and even popped a pound coin into a card as an extra gift.
It’s hard to believe that Oliver is 11 (I’m too young, surely *wail) and in many ways he seems and looks far older.
He was my rock when I needed surgery twice over recent years, growing in resilience and strength for it.
Physically, he’s already wearing age 13-14 clothes and at 5’1″, I know it won’t be long before he’s towering over me (not hard at 5’5″ and a half, I know, and yes that 1/2 is absolutely crucial fyi).
Thankfully, my eldest still doesn’t mind holding my hand on the school-run but I’m aware those days are numbered. What I hope isn’t numbered is the close bond that we share. He really is my mini best friend: a great listener, wise beyond his years and spot-on with advice. I learn as much from him as he does from me to be honest, motherhood for one but also judging on last week’s homeschool escapade, long-forgotten physics and maths too.
What I’m most impressed by is his strong sense of identity and distinct self-worth, which took me until my late 30s to even come close to, and that brain of his really does amaze me. He retains facts like nobody’s business and he’s creative with a passion for illustration and animation. He admittedly, like me, can be over-sensitive at times, a perfectionist who pushes himself fard too hard but we’re working on that together, simultaneously, growing side by side.
He adores and admires his calm and loving Daddy and I love seeing them together. The sweet cuddles, the conversations they have putting the world to rights (Oliver has taken a keen interest in politics this year) and the online games they play.
Oliver and I share the same silly sense of humour so laugh for hours together (Peter think we’re nuts) and we love a lot of the same things (in no particular order: Un0, Dobble, Schitt’s Creek, Married at First Sight Australia, Mario Brothers, comedy movies like Step Brothers, Uncle Buck and anything with Adam Sandler in) and like me, he’s a high-energy human being who can run on little sleep. He’s never liked sleep to be fair and I now wish I hadn’t wasted so much time worrying about that when he was a baby. It’s just his DNA.
I do feel so lucky to be his Mum.
I remember flicking through my husband Peter’s baby pics (much to his embarrassment) when I first ‘met the parents’ and had hoped if we one day had a baby together, it would be a mini him, just like that adorable kid in the album. I’d hand-on-heart never seen a more beautiful bubs in my life-all long fluttery eyelashes and doey brown eyes. Then Oliver came along, my dream come true and every day, despite the inevitable challenges (hello puberty) my son makes me deeply proud and I still, today, look at him, 11 years on and can’t believe he’s mine.
And yes, just as when he was a baby, I’m still insanely jealous that he looks like Jessica Alba and I don’t! It’s not fair!!!
Happy Birthday you beaut of a person, Oliver George Broadbent, we love you more than you will ever know x