“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing.” - Moby Dick
Seven years feels like a lifetime. My younger cousin Reed is only 7 years younger than me, yet he seems like an entire different species. I met him a few years ago when he was 4 years old, and it was a jumbled mess. It was the first time I had a conversation with a toddler. My Uncle brought me to Reed’s bedroom where we exchanged names, it would of been normal if Reed didn’t go on to say all the names he wish he had. Some of the names he wished for were super hero names, while others were the names of his favorite basketball players. The conversation then moved to hobbies. Reed liked basketball, and drawing. In fact Reed liked drawing so much that he went on to show me his art. “Cool he’s going to show me his art collection.” I thought. Reed instead rolled up his sleeves revealing a scribbled mess. I had never liked art as a kid; I bet my parents were glad. I decided to maybe direct the conversation away from art and into basketball. I asked him why he liked basketball.
“The ball, um, um, is really fun and uhhhh then you go.” He said with his hand in his mouth.
I looked at him dumbfounded. What did he just say?
“Well I like hockey, cause it’s fun to skate and shoot pucks.” I tried to tell him a little about myself.
“This is the drawing from yesterday.” He said.
I have up trying to have a structured conversation with him and just decided to play with him. We started by throwing the miniature basketball in his room, and after 15 minutes I got tired of it. When I tried to stop throwing the ball he began to cry. I don’t just mean tears rolling down his face, I mean snot and spit covering his hands, face, and shirt. His parents then rushed in to calm him down. This first experience meeting Reed was a strange one. I had never met someone that much younger than me, let along have a conversation. What I learned was to embrace the new things, embrace the irregularities, it can make these new and awkard experience feel comfortable.