Sixteen

Dear Ruaridh

You turned sixteen years of age today! You know, you’re the only other person in the whole world apart from myself whom I’ve known properly for all of their life… that’s quite the thing.

I wanted to write a letter to you. Something meaningful. Something for you to treasure for always. But you know I communicate best through visuals, so here’s my photo letter to you as you reach this important milestone …

Watching a person grow from their smallest self is quite the fascinating ride, not to mention privilege, and I honestly had no idea just how fascinating it would be.

That’s what I wanted to write to you about. To let you know that what I find the most fascinating  – and what I most most admire – about you has been your fierce determination to unfold into the unique individual that you are. Ever since you were little.

You started out with such unlimited potential.

Pure Potential

I told you right from the outset that you could be anything you wanted to be, so you enthusiastically tried a few things out. Like being a fireman.

Fireman

But the emergency services wasn’t ever going to be your thing, was it? Your creative urge was  too high and I, for one, was thrilled when you gave it a shot as an artist that time.

Artist

But that was short-lived, and I didn’t really mind – you clearly leaned more towards music. Albeit with something of a rock star attitude.

Keyboard Player

Yeah, definitely a rock star attitude!

Rock Star

You were super thrilled when you got your first iPod, aged seven. I don’t think you’ve been seen without earphones since. (As a mother, you must know I have slight concerns about this.)

First iPod

But when the music gets you, there’s nothing much you can do about it – that’s obvious.

Reggae Dancer

It wasn’t a surprise that you were going to make music of your own.

More Guitar

That’s not to say that you weren’t ever going to enjoy a sports career.

Footballer

Okay, maybe not playing footie, but perhaps in your later years, the supporting of it.

Football Supporter

You gave that up after one World Cup and moved onto rugby. It’s clear to see that you were quite determined to see that through (for the briefest of moments.)

Rugby Player

To be honest, I kinda always knew that team sports didn’t really hold the magic key for you, and I’ll admit that I’m super grateful not to have had to go and stand on the sidelines in the pissing rain, cheering you on. (Thank you so much for that gift.)

You did give the old baseball a go one time, remember? You could have probably made a go of it, if you’d wanted.

Baseball Pro

But we all recognized you weren’t likely to be West Lothian’s answer to the next Andy Murray.

Table Tennis

However, it seemed quite natural that you would try out the martial arts, what with our propensity to look to the East for wisdom.

From White Belt all the way to Brown Belt with the karate – that was something for you to get stuck into. I can remember a medal and a trophy and I’m sure I’ve kept them safe for you somewhere.

Karate

You’d often be seen toying with the rarer forms, like that summer you delved into pole form with Martin.

Pole Fighter

It surely has been a real treat to see you embrace the Adventurer archetype. Like the time you single-handledly paddled practically the length of the Dordone.

Dordogen

And captained your own kayak down some French gorge. Okay, I don’t know if one actually captains a kayak…

Kayak France

Although I do know you were thankful that we didn’t actually take you to the top of Mont Blanc that one summer.

Mont Blanc

Or sign you up for more than one French birdwatching expedition!

Birdwatcher

You all of a sudden seemed to morph into a teenager. That was the last milestone before this one, really, and it was then that I could see you striving to shed the skin of the wee boy you had been. That was quite the summer, hey? Can you remember, you even decided to give high-school a try!

Warrior Teen

But before you got yourself incarcerated again, you gave the body boarding a go.

Surfer Dude

But your beach preferences had always leaned a little more to the unconventional.

Baywatch

And artistic.

Sand Sculptor

You have always been the most excellent of art critics, it is true.

Art Critic

Taking time to look at the big picture.

ViewFinder

With the most outward of gazes.

Sea Gazing

Top of the Hill

Your Philosopher archetype runs strong, there’s no doubt.

Philosopher

And your ability to apply yourself to quiet, internal pursuits has seen you through many a long travel, both in geography and mind.

Book Reader

Lego Engineer

Photographer

It was fun to art journal together, albeit only the twice!

Art Journaler

It’s super difficult to catch more than a glimpse of a teenager, after all – even when they’re home-schooled. Did I ever tell you how proud I am that you decided to extricate yourself from high-school in the end? That was super courageous.

Mandala Shirt

It’s not that you’re not academic at all. You’ve always been deep into research. I think you might take after me on that one!

Philosophiser Writer

And sometimes you even looked the part of the home-schooler! Well, maybe just that one time…

Documenter

These are all of your faces, Ruaridh – every single one of them, and many more… I love them all dearly, especially the ones where you’re in performance mode. Quite paradoxically, that feels like the real you!

Rubber Ring

B Movie

Comedian

Statue

Freckles

Masked Marauder

Shakespeare Theatre Ham.jpg.

Specsgalore

Stage Makeup

Ruaridh Gibbons, international playboy in the making.

International Playboy

Ruaridh Gibbons, international travel-writer.

International Traveler

Ruaridh Gibbons, the boy who ran away from the circus.

Shirt and Tie
Ruaridh Gibbons, the boy with the brightest smile of all.

Beavers

Ruaridh Gibbons, the boy with the best laugh in the world.

Laughing

Ruaridh Gibbons, the boy most often at the hair salon.

Purple

I feel like the luckiest mama in the world to have witnessed you grow in to the sixteen year old that you are. Thank you so very much for choosing to live out your life the way you do and all the faces you share with us. I can’t imagine my son being anyone but you.

Hamming it Up

Much love
Mum xo

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