My sister doesn't know that I blog about her kids. But some stories just beg to be shared.
I think of my nephew as "Little Crissie". He's the youngest of three siblings, and came to his Colorado family from Guatemala. Both he and his brother Leo turned 5 a short while after starting kindergarten. That's always a "hold your breath" moment for parents. Will he keep up academically? Will he keep up socially? Will he be short? You know the drill. A parent can make their best guess, and they can be wrong.
Cris is a happy, amusing boy. His body moves like Gumby. He's got a smile and a twinkle in his eye which attract girls and women of all ages. You can't help smiling around Cris.
Cris started kindergarten last summer and turned five. One of his classmates was Patrick. Patrick doesn't speak to people. He doesn't participate. Patrick is one of those "slightly different" kids. Albert Einstein was also "slightly different". Some people get all tense when you discuss people's differences, but I find the differences fascinating, and see no reason to pretend that we're all supposed to be the same.
Patrick decided at some point through the school year that Cris was his friend. Patrick played with Cris during recess, and Patrick talked to Cris. He even came over to Cris' house for play dates. Yet he did not speak with the other children or the teacher. It was just too overwhelming for him.
Cris and Patrick graduated from kindergarten last week. The kids sat in a big semicircle. Each child took a turn to walk up to the microphone and announce his or her future occupation. Cris said, "When I grow up, I'm going to be a cowboy!" I love that. None of this "I'm going to be a record producer" stuff.
After a while, it was Patrick's turn. Patrick walked over to Cris, and Cris stood up. Then they walked together to the microphone. Cris put his arm around Patrick's shoulder. And then Cris announced brightly into the microphone, "This is my friend Patrick. When Patrick grows up, he's going to be a doctor." Then they both walked back and sat down.
I love this story. My goal for all children would be to have friendships like this, compassion, love, hopes and dreams. Let the kids be different. The differences are what make us interesting.
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For a story about Cris' brother Leo, go to my April blog post "Eyes On Leo".