Do We/Should We Ever Grow Up? (first published 8/1/17)
There seems to come a time, just a fleeting moment, when you realise that your child has grown. Maybe its when you catch them in your windscreen mirror as you wait after school, walking next to a friend a full foot shorter than them. Maybe its when they speak for themselves at a doctors appointment. We realise that they are no longer tiny, innocent babies, but people, growing and learning about the World, and becoming adults.
This Christmas was a different one. It wasn’t filled with toys to be put together, or massive boxes squeezed under the tree. There were xbox games, and DVDs, useful things and stuff they needed. Of course, it was kind of like that last year too, but not as much. They knew what they were getting, as they’d made consist lists on Amazon. They have this strange notion that Father Christmas doesn’t exist (no idea where that silly idea came from), and the excitement of tearing wrapping paper just didn’t seem to be there.
Except for one present. One that was unexpected, an extra, picked up (and delivered by Father Christmas, I’m sticking with it) as an afterthought, after a comment was made in passing about how they looked good. A basketball hoop, in a huge box slid next to the tree. There was joy in his face as that paper was ripped, as he couldn’t guess what was inside. Xbox games have a distinct size and shape, there’s no real surprise there. But this brought back a moment of childlike joy that a true surprise can bring, even in a padded teenager. I watched him, knowing what was inside and watching his face glow, and hearing an unrehearsed squeal. For that moment, I had my little boy back.
Then the adults (I come under that heading) opened their presents. Some things asked for some things hopefully bought to put a smile on a loved face. At the end, my Dad disappeared and brought in two boxes, one small, for my older brother, and one huge. I was confused, the huge one was mine. I gingerly pulled at the paper, preparing my ‘oh that’s so nice’ smile adults perfect throughout the years, just incase it was something wacky my Dad had though would make me smile. I slowly ripped part of the paper back, and peered inside. And I squealed. I squealed as much, if not more, than my son had at his surprise gift.
It was a box of lego.
A huge box of lego.
The Parisian restaurant, to be exact (16+, by the way).
Now, a little back story. I collect lego, I love lego, I have lego on display in my lounge (make of that what you will). I hadn’t asked for any this Christmas, there were other things to concentrate on, grown up things for the house. So, I didn’t expect any. The fake out had been consistent from my parents in the weeks running up to Christmas; no lego, too much, we’re adults now. I had resigned myself to my pile of books and scattering of fun things, and I was happy.
Then I opened it, and I was back to my childhood; a free, unfettered enjoyment of the moment, that my parents got to see again too.
(My brother got a phone, he had asked for it and was very happy, but I could still see him glancing at my lego box with a certain longing)
Our children will grow up, as we ourselves did. That childlike wonder at the world, that belief in magic, it changes, and becomes knowledge and understanding of how things actually work. But it doesn’t leave us, it evolves, and can seem lost, but it only takes a moment of surprise to bring back that excited squeal that catapults us back to that magical time. My children are evolving, and learning how the World works, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still able to see through wide, amazed and wondering eyes.
And, yes, I built my lego, and it’s awesome.