From the day of his birth, he and I have forged such a close bond that his mum joked we should go on the Jeremy Kyle Show for me to be DNA tested to find out if I'm his biological mother. To his mum's eternal credit and as a testament to her lovely character, she has never begrudged her boy's devoted attachment to his football-loving aunty nor mine towards her first born son.
I saw his first steps, changed his nappies, helped him ride his bike, helped him clean out his guinnea pig cage and chided him for swearing. I took him to his first football match, let him stay up and watch Match of the Day when he stayed over and watched with pride from the touchline as he went for trials at Everton aged six. I even went to his first nativity play at school. His dad and I went and after about 3 minutes we began first sniggering and then through the agony of 'Away In a Manger' we began to look at assisted suicide as a viable option. That was until golden boy comes on with his solo recorder spot and I'm reduced to eyes welling up and then floods of tears. My godson finishes his spot and then looks out into the audience, spots me and with thumbs up, shouts over 'I did it aunty H'. Sobs at this point whilst his dad just looks at me and shakes his head in pity.
Since then, he has either texted or rung me every week. If he gets a spare moment away from his Playstation or kicking a football up and down his street, he writes to me! I've kept his letters and they are precious and funny in equal measures. He'll tell me about the injustice of getting told off at school for kicking a football into Mrs. Catterall's garden for the 3rd time that week or ask me impossible questions like where do birds go to die? He'll sit on my sofa with his Match Attax books and casually ask me whether girls like boys with gel in their hair.
I shall still worry about him whilst he's away but will also await the first text telling me the canooeing is fab and can I drop off some hair gel as he's forgotten to pack it....