Growing Up

Growing Up

I wait outside the registration room and I watch H as he stands in the queue. He looks uncertain, but not scared. I watch as his turn comes, he signs up, picks up his ID card and walks out to me.

‘There. Done,’ he says with a grin, ‘You can go now. Or you can stay for the opening ceremony.’

I am here to drop him off for a mock UN session. We have travelled half way across the city for this annual event that brings together school children to represent various countries discussing a particular topic.

The instructions and timings are a little vague and H doesn’t know a soul here. That worries me. All through the forty-five minute drive I’ve been talking to him, explaining, cautioning, making sure he has the phone with him. Will he feel lost, lonely, scared? I wonder.

‘Don’t worry ma,’ he says reading my thoughts, ‘I’ll be fine.’ I look at him, taller than me already, in his formal suit, the ID card around his neck making him look oddly grown up, professional almost. To an outsider.

To me he’s just a 13-year-old. A goofy absentminded 13-year-old.

Unbidden, a memory comes to me, that of 6-year-old H, taking his first steps into Big School, bravely trying not to cry, walking away without a backward glance.

I look at him again. Try as I might, I see no traces of the scared 6-year-old. All I see is a young boy, chattering away excitedly. ‘I wish they’d have given me a more important country to represent. Philippines is just so sidey. China would have been good or the US or even India,’ he complains, ‘Next time we’ll register earlier.’

Nope, no traces of the six-year-old.

With an effort I make myself separate the two images.

‘Oh boy!’ he exclaims examining the programme for the day, ‘they have Breakfast after the Opening Ceremony. Last year I had three glasses of hot chocolate. I hope they have it this time too.’ The six-year-old is back again!

I can’t help but laugh, glad the younger version is still in there somewhere under the suit and the tie even as the teen tries to take over.

14 Replies to “Growing Up”

  1. It was a pretty serious scene until the last lines. I marvelled at H’s confidence and his sense of humour with Philippines being sidey (I get the context from the comment thread here). However, the 6-year old H warmed up my heart. This is the H I have known over the last few years 🙂
    Anamika Agnihotri recently put up this amazing post…I got back to crocheting #MondayMusingsMy Profile

    1. That’s really sweet Anamika. You guys here almost seem like family friends.
      I was pretty impressed too about how cool he was. At his age I would never have voluntarily gone to a place where I knew no one.

  2. Took me back to when my A was doing her first MUN in Grade 9, and then went on to become the Sec General. From those unsure steps she took unhindered ones and then mentored her juniors for the same program.
    Life flies swiftly indeed.

    Wish I could reverse the hands of time…sigh!

  3. You know Tulika, I want my 10 year old to go back to his baby days and my 3 year old to grow up quickly. Then again I am sure as my 3 year old grows up I would want him to go back to his baby days. I too wonder where my little baby has gone when Kanna talks so very sensibly. He is not saying as many “I love you”s which is breaking my heart already. Then he sits watches Llama Llama making me feel slightly better.
    Hope H had a lovely time representing Philippines. What a wonderful idea – Model UN.
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    1. Ditto for me. I’m not even sure I would have voluntarily gone to a place where i knew no one. But my son isn’t like that at all. My daughter, though is a little hesitant.

  4. Awww! That was so sweet! And I am glad too that there is the 6-year-old in there. May he always stay in there; adult life can often get boring and too serious, isn’t it?

    1. Absolutely. It’s always a relief to see the baby in there somewhere. Kids grow up so fast, somedays I yearn for the time when they were younger.

  5. This is PRECISELY Gy 😀

    She’s a strange mix of teen and child and I mostly find it amusing and adorable, although there are days when I just feel like I should take a vacation from being a parent.

    Kids growing up is both cute and scary, at some level. They don’t need us as much anymore- that’s the good thing. But…they don’t need us as much anymore, which is so much harder to accept on other days.

    I hope he aced the Model UN. Trust him to say Phillipines is side-y! 😀 I hope you don’t have any readers from that country 😉

    1. Exactly – one part of me is glad they are growing up and then there’s this other past that wants them to remain babies. I dread the day they begin to think of themselves as completely grown up.
      Oh and clarifying that bit about Philippines being ‘sidey’ he only meant it in context :-). They were discussing China-Hong Kong relations and as the Philippines representative he had very little to say. Hence!
      No prejudice against the country.

  6. MUN right? My older one just loved it. He represented his school in so many of those and even organized one in his school. Even the younger boy had taken part in one in the school. Mostly here, the school takes them to the venue so we don’t have to worry about that. Plus having other classmates helps them in diffusing the tension. I love how the kids transform right in front of our eyes, slowly discarding their child-like persona and becoming more mature. But then the child peeks through in things, just like you pointed out. Hope he had a fun session and you as well.

    1. Yeah MUN. It’s such a wonderful concept. Isn’t it? It would be wonderful if the school takes them, so much pressure off the parents! Last year they did have a bunch of kids but this time round he was the only one from his school. As it turned out all went well.

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