Susan's Blog

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Magical Kimmie

My sister’s kids are very special. As with all children and me, it took me a while to really get who they are. Of course, that is because kids are just small people, and they are every bit as complex as grown-ups, but we (I) tend to forget that.

Laura’s little girl is kind of magical to me. She is the closest thing I will have to a daughter. But I think that even if she had been a boy I would have felt this way. She has a round head, creamy-dusky skin, messy curls, and something very familiar about her. Her eyes take it all in and think about it.

Kimmie was Benji’s first friend. Born just a few months after him, we put them together very early in life. Back then I was afraid that Benji was going to have some social deficits, because he seemed very focused on some things and not at all on others. Sometimes I could not get him to answer me. You know what I’m saying. I did not know who Benji was until more recently; I did not know that this is just Benji and there’s nothing to be afraid of.

But Benji showed very little interest in other kids, such as the children in his music class (he was 6 months old when he started music). The other kids seemed to enjoy each other more easily, but I remember Benji actually growled at them back then! So I did not get it.

With Kimmie, he always seemed relaxed and fascinated. Maybe he felt that she was like a sister, a part of him. Maybe it was her easy personality, her quiet thoughtfulness. Whatever it was, the two of them could just be together for hours. Even before they did more than parallel play, they could be in each other’s company and be happy. I had never seen anything like it with Benji and it gave me such hope. I knew that if he could have one fulfilling peer relationship in his life, he’d be just fine. And so he did.

Kimmie gave Benji the gift of first friend. We all remember our first friends. As they grew, they continued to share interests and be extremely comfortable with one another, like two parts of the same person. Funny thing is, sometimes Kimmie reminds me of me somehow, even though she looks like Laura, and Benji reminds me of Laura! Yet they rarely fight. They just sink into where they left off even though they see each other only a few times a year.

I adore my niece and nephew (whom I will talk about another time), both for who they are and for what they have given to me.

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