One of my favorite humans on the earth is this girl right here….
That’s my beautiful niece, Makenzie. It’s been a little over three years since she made me an aunt for the first time, which was reason enough to immediately love her times infinity.
Since then, I’ve found about a million things to love about her. I love her huge smile and infectious laugh. I love how gentle she is with animals. I love her endless amounts of energy. I love that she enjoys building things. I love her singing. I love her look of deep concentration. I love that her vocabulary seems to quadruple every time I talk to her. I love her imagination. I love that she counts things, and gets creative with the numbers after ten.
So let me tell you another thing I love about her. Through a story or two….
The last time they came for a visit, one of our favorite games was “Aunt K’stine, Come Scare Me!” The game basically consists of her inviting me to come “scare” her, and then screaming as I chase her around the house…
Eventually, Grandma got sucked into the game too. Kenzie started leaping into my mom’s arms and yelling, “Run, Grandma, run! Aunt K’stine is coming!” Then my mom would have to run around the house, carrying a shrieking three year old.
After about a million rounds of this, Kenzie wasn’t slowing down of course, but Grandma had to tell her, “I’m sorry, but I’m getting tired. I don’t think I can run anymore.” I wasn’t sure if Makenzie registered this. She didn’t seem too phased.
The next round, I chased her around the house a couple times, and again, she leaped into Grandma’s arms. This time calling, “Walk, Grandma, walk!!”
Yep, she was listening, and she heard Grandma say she couldn’t run. So we kept playing, with Grandma walking, Kenzie shrieking, and Aunt K’stine slow-motion chasing. 🙂
This is my other favorite little human in the world…
That’s Carson. He’s my cute-as-a-button nephew, and he’s just past the year and a half mark. He spends his days following his big sister around, and mimicking everything she does. They adore each other!
The other day, as I was Skyping with them, Makenzie started climbing up on the coffee table, and jumping from there to the couch. Big jump, but doable. (Mommy and Daddy were both right there, and they seemed fine with it.)
Predictably, after a couple jumps, Carson climbed up on the table, and was eying the couch, ready to make his own big leap…. There was no way that was going to end well. He’s a strong lil’ guy, but still just a lil’ guy!
As my brother started to say, “I don’t want you trying it, Car-guy…”, Makenzie was already on the ground, pushing the coffee table up against the couch. She fixed it so that Carson could jump without hurting himself. Then they both got to work jumping together.
I LOVE that Makenzie is such a natural at adapting to the needs of others. Grandma can’t run? That’s cool, we’ll walk. Carson can’t make the big jump? That’s cool, we’ll make the jump smaller. These aren’t reasons to stop playing, or leave someone out. We just adapt, and get back to the important business of having fun.
I hope that’s a character trait she never loses. Kids are so much more natural at making accommodations than most adults! Unless you live with a disability or spend lots of time around it, that talent seems to go away. People get set in their patterns of the way things are done, and it’s hard to imagine any other way.
I have to roll my eyes when people get all weepy about seeing kids with wheelchairs–the “poor little dears” are “too young to have to put up with that.” Whatever! Being a kid with a disability isn’t so bad, at least not most of the time. The other kids just think your chair is a cool toy, and they’re not wrong. It gets much harder in the adult world, but as a kid, playtime is just fun. When an obstacle comes up, you change your course and go around it. No big deal, that’s part of the game.
Keep it up, Makenzie! Keep listening to others’ needs, and problem-solving so they can be included. The world needs loving, kind, creative people like you.