A letter to my son on the eve of his 4th birthday


Dear Tiernan,

Your name means ‘fair Lord of The Manor’ in Gaelic. Tighearnán, my darling son, as it would be written in Gaelic, you hold that name proudly. Above is one of my favourite pictures of you. It was taken when you were 2 and you told someone who was cycling on a pavement they were a ‘selfish twat.’ Gawd knows where you got that from.

Tomorrow you are 4 years old and the first time I knew of you, when you were a stripe on a pregnancy test, I loved you beyond all imagining. I know, when your mum was 5 months pregnant and we went to India, I was a bit overprotective and concerned, but that’s what love does sometimes. It makes you do silly things and makes you pack 5 packs of anti-bacterial wipes.

And some spray.

When I first met you, all 6 pounds 6 ounces of you, I held you tenderly. You were so precious, you still are, and I was terrified of breaking you. I still am. I cried lots as it had been a long labour for your mummy, but her determination meant it all went well, and that determination I see in you. When I first saw you I told you I love you, I looked into your eyes, the same shape as mine but a new-born blue, and told you that I would always be there for you. I remember you weeing on me. Which was nice.

I will always be with you but I can’t be with you tomorrow. You may not realise it’s your actual birthday-day-type-day-of-birth thing, and other things, like presents, might seem more important, but the fact that I can’t be with you is very hard for me. Last year we went out and had cake, chinese food, and played all day and we had fun. This year I know you’ll have fun with your mummy. You will have a wonderful day with people as proud of you as I am.

I’m being soppy now but I need to say this just in case you ever read it later in life. I love you, not because of some unconditional father-to-something, but because you make my heart swell with pride, simply by you by being you. And for so many other reasons obviously. Seeing you with your sister, the big brother with a soft and tender heart, with so much love to give, makes me proud and honoured to be your dad.

It’s been a tough few months and I know we haven’t seen each other as much as I would’ve liked. I’m sorry. Truly. But know that every day I look at a photo of you and smile. Know I see your face and feel you at every moment of each day, here. *Points here* In my heart. My big and stupid heart which has never-ending love for you.

I’m apart from you just now, but you are always in my thoughts, and always will be.

My son. My gorgeous, wonderful, beautiful son,

You are so very special, and I know the best is yet to come. You are bright, funny, clever, generous and loving and I have no doubt that you’ll be like that for the rest of your life, as all these things come so naturally to you. The time we spent together while I looked after you full-time are the best memories I have. And not just because people said you were gorgeous and beautiful and looked like me which, granted, was a bit of an ego-boost.

It’s because you make cold days warm, darkness disappear, and you make life worth living.

Tiernan, I wish you a very happy birthday. I wish you the very best of days, as I do in my head each day, and I’ll Skype you tomorrow morning and sing you Happy Birthday. And I’ll see you on Saturday at your birthday party. We will cake our faces off.

Have a wonderful day Mr Mooper. Which is what I call you sometimes. But don’t tell anyone eh?

Yours, your ever-loving and eternally proud,


17 responses to “A letter to my son on the eve of his 4th birthday

  1. Happy birthday Tiernan, enjoy the cake off! Spencer if you were in the room, i couldn’t look you in the eye because I would be crying, why have you done that…oh yes because you’re a good man, with a great love for his son.

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