I am totally obsessed with my niece, Jaelyn. She’s 6, she’s funny, she’s cute, smart, and the list goes on. She’s the kind of kid that makes you look forward to parenthood…
I could talk about her for an eternity...but this actually isn’t about Jae, as much as it is about her relationship with her friend Hank. They’ve been best friends since they began pre-school (shout out to South Orange Country Day!). For the last 3 years we’ve heard everything about what Hank likes, does, knows, said, etc. I met him for the first time @ her 4th birthday party a couple years back. He seemed pretty cool, I could tell why they were friends. He was adorable, and together, they were the leaders of the pack. If one of them did or said something everyone else followed. They seemed to have interest in the same things, very cute.
Two years later, Jae is at a different school for Kindergarden (shout to KPS!), and Hank is still one of her best friends. She still talks about him all the time, sets up play dates, and even asked me if she could send him an email from my blackberry on Christmas. (i’m a sucker for love, so I saved it “to Hank, happy hanuka, from jaelyn”).
Saturday, Jae had her 6th birthday party, at a cooking studio. When I got there we had word that most of the kids were running late – but Hank was there on time, so Jae wasn’t worried about anything else. I watched them interact. When one talked the other listened. When she needed something (they were making fruit kabobs, cupcakes, & chicken quesadillas) he passed her his & vice versa. When she had to choose someone to help her, the answer was inevitably Hank. When he was telling jokes, she laughed the hardest. When he couldn’t come up with a food for to the “eat your way through the alphabet” game she whispered an answer… I talked to Hank’s mom about the email Jae attempted to send and she was like “ohh, Hank draws pictures all the time and says ‘this is for Jaelyn‘”.
and me being me… I’m thinking “they are the cutest mini-couple ever!” Here’s my 6 year old niece with a boy who she’s been with for 2+ years… she genuinely enjoys him, talks about him with her family, she supports him, and all this is reciprocated! When I watched them together, it looked so easy, and simple…and they’re even interracial. How long before they grow up and other kids, parents, society, labels, etc tear them apart? I hope never.
Adults overthink & complicate a union that should be natural & easy. We allow societal pressures, fears, and labels come between us & our happiness…
(I’m having a glass of wine now so I’ll have a toast)
“to being more like Jaelyn & finding my Hank…”