Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kid is growing up fast !

August 22, 2009 (Saturday) – A very special day, as Prem went all the way to the top of Mission Peak (Elevation Gain: 2100 feet, distance 6 miles) by himself, for the first time, still couple of months shy of his 6th birthday. It took almost 4 hours, which included 1 hours 50 minutes to reach at top, 45 minutes stay at peak and 1 hour and 20 minutes to climb down.

On Friday, August 21, 2009, after completing a high energy day at school, followed by a grueling one-on-one swimming session, he came back and slept in living room at 6 PM. I thought he would wake up around 8 and then we will have dinner together. I still remembered my last week hike at Mission Peak, where we met a family of four, youngest girl 5, who reached at top around 7 AM. After talking to the family, they told me that they put the sleeping kids in car before 5 AM, and start hiking at 5. This gave me some perspective, as what should be a reasonable time for such a young kid to complete the hike. Also I took the photo of this family to show it to Prem. After looking at the photo, Prem was upset and spoke in tears to take him to Mission Peak. I promised that I would, some day. Now that Prem was in deep sleep even at 8 PM, I recognized this as an opportunity presented by some cosmic powers.

I thought, I would wake him in morning, and see if he was still as enthusiastic as he was a week ago. At 5 AM when I woke him up, and asked gently if he wanted to go hiking, he was alert, and immediately noticed the quiet of night, and opened the bedroom curtain and told me that he did not want to hike in night. I told him this was morning, and by the time we would start hiking, day would start breaking. He understood. Kid is growing up fast.

On previous occasions, when Prem hiked Mission Peak till Bench #4 (little bit more than half the

distance); though he had wanted to go all the way to top, he would complain about pain. He might have been sensing my impatience, and did not want to continue. Now armed with knowledge of expected time to complete the hike, and self promise of practicing patience, we started the hike at 5:45. Of course, I did not get any parking spot, and had to park the car another 1/2 mile away.

I remembered that last time Prem had hiked till bench 4, he had the company of two other 5 year old boys. It made the hike real easy. I was worried, that he might get bored soon. I had to quickly remove these negative thoughts from my mind, and decided to just go with the flow, take breaks and practice patience. We took break at each bench, and amazingly Prem was ready to go with in 5 minutes. Promila, as a typical Indian mom, brought tea, yogurt and sandwiches and did her best to stuff Prem at every opportunity.

After reaching bench 1, Prem said, “Look at the lights, so beautiful.” It was still somewhat dark, and you could see the lights of valley. Promila mentioned that it seemed like a mini-vacation, as family is enjoying something together, away from daily hustle-bustle. And I thought, “I am

fortunate to have such a low maintenance family which is so

easy to please.” She kept repeating this throughout the day, when we went to Prem’s last baseball game of the season, followed by a baseball pizza party given by Milpitas Police.

Through out the hike, Prem got lot of encouraging words from fellow hikers, going up or down, which made him more resolute to complete the hike. He started complaining about the pain in knee and feet after bench 4. I knew he was not pretending. I tried to pick him up, but by now, he was too proud to be seen in my lap. To my further amazement, he said, “Papa, my legs are getting stronger as they are in pain”. He remembered. Kid is growing up fast.

However, with a few minutes break, he wanted to move further. He did not like getting past by other hikers. On last stretch, where I had to hold his hand tightly, as the path was rocky, his hand was sweaty. And he figured out a way, by moving around me so that we changed our

hands every couple of minutes. One can say, that we tangoed all the way up to Mission Peak.

Met Rajesh just before reaching the peak, and he gave Prem a big hi-5. You could tell he was real thrilled to see Prem up there. Soon after that, Prem asked Mommy, that once we reach to the peak, she should take photos and put it on Facebook for all his friends to see. I reminded myself to talk to Promila later about Facebook impacts. Kid is growing up fast.