Children - they grow up so quickly, don't they?
My cousin G turns 21 today - all grown up now.
During the summer when I was a student, I used to babysit him and his brother J - he was around 3 years old at the time, a lovely little boy who loved his cuddles, had an endearing little lisp and who loved 'Thomath the Tank Engine'.
When his family emigrated to Hong Kong soon after, I cried in the airport toilets when I saw them off so that he wouldn't see me upset. Over the years, out of all my sisters, I made a real effort to keep in touch with him and his brother as they were growing up, writing letters, sending them comics etc. Their mum (ie my aunt) used to do this when we were younger, so I was just like returning the favour I guess!
J has always been the more lively cousin - loud, into his heavy metal music, prone to tantrums, aloof at times and often oblivious to people around him.
G is a more gentle soul - sensitive, articulate, quietly spoken and observant of people's emotions.
Both madly into their art and video/pc games, both used to fight (as in rough and tumble) but they are very close as brothers.
I recall overhearing part of a conversation of theirs once:
G - "I can't believe you upset Mum like that!"
J - "What do you mean? Mum was upset?"
G - "You nearly had her in tears with what you said!"
J - "Did I? It was only a discussion!"
G - "Well you shouldn't have said it."
This was a 13 year old telling off a 16 year old….
Anyway, G recently graduated and called me to see if any post from the university had been sent to my address. We chatted about his recent holiday to Vietnam, what he was planning on doing jobwise, etc and then I asked:
Me: "So G, just wondering if you have a girlfriend?I know you have an busy social life and me and my sisters all want to know!"
G: "Um, actually it's complicated…has Mum said anything?"
Me: "How do you mean? No, she hasn't said anything."
G: "I have a boyfriend."
Funny how I wasn't really shocked or surprised at this announcement. I'm more surprised that my aunt stayed with me for a few days recently and didn't mention anything as I considered us to be pretty close.
Still, he says things are still sensitive right now (hence her silence on this) but it's encouraging that he has come out. Probably best that my Gran doesn't find out though. She's too old to understand.
I hope things all work out for him.