Last week the teen hugged me. A proper hug. One I don't always get from him because even though he still loves me, he's 13 and hugging your mammy isn't always considered cool.
But he walked into the kitchen and hugged me and I rested my head on his shoulder and he laughed and declared he was taller than me now (and I'm 5' 8") and I stepped back and looked at him - my baby. Man big.
He will grow more - he has a good few growing years ahead of him. While his face has taken on a more manly shape and there is a trace of a dark fluff on his upper lip - I know it will change further. His jawline will become more defined. The fluff become spiky. His voice has already dropped - I wonder if it will drop more.
And most of all - when he leaves his shoes lying around the house - which he does quite often - I don't always know if he they are his, or his daddy's.
In the last year his feet have gone from a size 6 to a size 10.
A man's size 10.
No buying in the kid's section any more. No call for shoes which light up when he stomps in them. No desire to wear his welly boots all the time any more - even in summer.
Like most mums, I remember the day I bought his first pair of shoes. A rite of passage every mother and child goes through - they were a size 7 (baby size), with velcro straps. He toddled across the floor at Clarkes and I tried not to think that of adage about the day you put your child's first shoes on them they are one step closer to walking away from you. (Right? Because a mother of a toddler needs to hear that?).
But still I thought it was forever away - and I suppose it is still somewhere in the distance but that baby is gone.
The hugs on my knee, the way I carried him on my hip. The way he would crawl into bed beside me for a snuggle. The way for a few precious years I was the centre of his universe and he was the centre of mine. Our shared childish jokes and laughs. It felt so hard learning to be a mother then - but it's harder trying to figure out how to be a mother now. How to start preparing myself for the day when I let him go.
He is already talking of his desire to study at university in Liverpool. My heart sinks but I plaster on a smile because this is his life and not mine.
But the thought that those size 10 shoes won't always clutter up my hallway? Well that breaks my heart just a little.
Those people who know me know that I harbour a not so secret love for a certain Canadian crooner - by the name of Michael Buble.
I'd always been a bit of a fan but when I saw him in Belfast in December 2014 - I became an official Bublette (yes, that is an actual thing).
Part of me, the part of me that wants to be cool and trendy and hip and young, is mildly embarrassed by my obsession. My older sister lists Eddie Vedder as one of her top crushes. My younger sister has a thing for Tom Hiddleston (although that's under review following the whole Hiddleswift carry on).
Me? I'm all about the crooner in the suits with the cheesy sense of humour. Not an ounce of cool about it. People tend to scoff, or roll their eyes when I tell them. They don't get it.
And that's okay- because if they don't get, there's more Buble for me!
At his Belfast concert - I admit I was a little fragile physically and emotionally. I had undergone major surgery (weemin stuff) less than two week's before. I was feeling delicate - and then I had a night of such silly, fun, sing a long joy that I fell for him and it was as if I was 14 and screaming for Matt Goss all over again.
I cried. I screamed. I cried some more. I elbowed old women and children out of the way* to get close enough to actually hold his hand. I let go of his hand, reluctantly but the imprint of our brief time as a couple has stayed with me forever. (My tongue is in my cheek before you start calling the police to arrange a restraining order!).
If he met me - properly - I'm sure we would be together. I'm sure he would have no problem leaving his Argentinian born, lingerie model and actress, 29 year old wife to be with me. Instead of flying between his luxury homes in Vancouver and Buenos Aires - I'm sure he would be delighted to fly between Vancouver and my mobile home 20 minutes outside of Buncrana. What international singing superstar wouldn't?
I'm sure he wouldn't mind at all leaving the lovely Luisana - and her perfectly toned figure despite having had two children - in favour of an overweight 40 year old who could never be described as a natural beauty?
When I celebrated the big birthday recently my friends made sure he was there - not in person of course, but in the form of a lifesize cardboard cut out. The smile on my face says it all (I may have consumed some alcohol before the picture was taken).
So am I too old for a crush? Should I at 40 years old accept my lot and stop feeling giddy at the sight of a handsome man, with a GSOH and a lovely singing voice?
Should crushes remain the mainstay of the teenagers - a safe way for them to explore their romantic feelings for complete strangers without really risking getting hurt?
Perhaps it's not entirely appropriate for a married mother of two to have proper feelings for a celeb (Sorry Mr Allan) - but since this is just a fantasy I can also fantasize that the Buble would put his own socks in the laundry hamper, know how to clean a bathroom and not be allergic to running a hoover up the stairs every now and again.
Now - if that turns out to be true you might have to get that restraining order in place after all.
Why Skirting the Issue?
For 14 years I wrote my Skirting the Issue column for the Derry Journal each Friday - I may have moved on, but I still have opinions!