Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Love Is: I don’t know!
I recently visited Houston, Texas and was able to spend time with my good friends Lauren and Josh. This was my first time seeing them in almost three years. Ours is a friendship that, no matter how much time has passed, is always pleasant and we pick up right where we last left off. Aside from the excitement of seeing them, I was most excited to finally see Kennedy. Kennedy is the first child of Josh and Lauren and I have known her since before she had fingerprints. She played her keyboard and read to me one of her favorite books. It was surreal to see Kennedy, now five, with her own personality and opinions. She is sweet, intelligent, funny and thoughtful. Seeing Josh and Lauren with their family was moving and surreal. Seeing my friends, who I’ve known in younger and less responsible times, as great parents, reminded me of how fast time moves and how precious life and love is. Kennedy and their six month old son, Brooks, are living testimonies to Josh and Lauren’s love.
The next day I came again and Kennedy and I forged ahead in our new friendship. We were standing in the kitchen together staring at the rows of number and letter refrigerator magnets. She stares up at me to ask:
Kennedy: What word should I make?
Monique: Well, what’s your favorite word?
She thought only for a moment and replied:
K: Love. Will you help me spell it?
I helped with the spelling and watched as she moved the number five right above the word love.
K: I put the five on top so they can know I’m five.
M: Ha! Ok, so what is love?
K: Love is, um. . . love is, it’s when. . . (laughs), I don’t know!
M: It’s a hard question, right? Well, what do you feel when you think about love? You love your mom and dad right?
K: Yeah! You’re supposed to love people.
M: What else do you love?
K: I love nature, people and the world. And that’s it!
Later on in the day, we’re piling into the car to head towards dinner and Kennedy and I are having a pretty serious conversation about the difference between chocolate and vanilla cake. And in one sentence, this five year old merged desserts and racial cognizance.
K: I like to have the icing all around my mouth. Do you know why I like chocolate? It’s because my skin is brown so it would match better.
Our conversation continues and I learn that her favorite song is Thnks Fr Th Mmrs by Fallout Boy, which pleased me because I had quite the Fallout Boy stage in high school. I noticed that she kept taking a pink Barbie phone out of her purse and she explains to me that she is sending messages to her best friend, Fiona.
K: She’s nice. We pretend we’re sisters. She pretends I’m her sister and I pretend she’s my sister. We both have pretend phones. You know, sometimes I pretend that I’m calling her and then I think that maybe she’s pretend calling me too.
M: You mean maybe she’s thinking of you when you think of her?
The ride continues and I turn around to check on her as she’s gone quiet. I catch her happily looking out a window and smiling to herself. She catches my eye, laughs and says:
K: I’m thinking of talking to Fiona.
Kennedy spoke a lot about her best friend. She did it with the sincerest feeling of love towards another person, for no other reason than their existence.They say wisdom will come from the mouths of babes and I learned an important lesson about love during my time with Kennedy. Love is a complete acceptance of someone with no questions. She taught me to look at love through the eyes of a child, without ego or jealousy or control. Loving like a child means to do so without any fear or obligation.