January 10, 2015

A Tween in Thailand

Momo leaves Monday. I have a lump in my throat just typing it out. We always loathe seeing grandparents off. It feels like throwing out a half-eaten, freshly-baked cake, frosting and all.

But at least she came! At least we got to enjoy her, and she us, while it lasted. And we'll be Stateside again before we know it, so that softens the blow a bit. It's just rotten, though, saying goodbye. It always has been, and it always, always will be.

We've spent this last week in Thailand for Daniel's class. It was Momo's first time in The Kingdom of Thailand. She loved it, of course. Crispy kao soi for lunch, traveling by tuk-tuk, and shopping for handmade shoes. That's our kind of January.

And this time we've had a full-blown tween in Thailand. Too old for ball-pits at the mall, he says, though he reluctantly went to one and ended up having a blast. Too old for this and too old for that, he says. We roll our eyes and tuck him in for bed, kissing his face that displays two small pimples, even as his muscled arms hold tightly to a plush toy fox Zion gave him for Christmas. Ahh, the awkwardness of growing up. The letting go and the grabbing hold, like a gibbon swinging from one branch to another.

The other day Momo watched with delight as a perfect coming-of-age scenario unfolded before her very eyes. Eugene, our tween of whom I speak, was swaggering through the gardens of the guest house with an older kid (12 or so, I'd guess) named Micah. Micah had a flop of curls on his forehead and long, teenage legs. Gene was trying very hard to keep stride.

At that moment, Eugene's 5-year-old sister Jubilee burst onto the scene and hollered from the other side of the hedges, "Gene! Gene, did you make a new friend?"

The Tween turned and glared at the Halfling, who stood smiling at her big brother, oblivious to the fact that she had just dealt him a cripling blow in the social sense. "Yeah, of course I did, Jubi," he hollered back, fuming. Turning on his heel he fell back into step with Micah. Jubilee stood looking confused, and Momo sat chuckling in her lawn chair, happy to have been here to see it.