A Conversation With a 7 Year Old

The day before Christmas Eve, my husband and I ventured down to my aunt's house for an early Christmas dinner. I have a {very} large family and we try to get everyone together for the holidays, which can prove to be a bit hectic. I have 18 cousins on one side and all but one are younger than me...so you get the gist of it. It's loud and crazy, but I love every single second of it. The chaos is comforting, and always has been.

As C and I were getting ready to leave and making our "goodbye" rounds to everyone, I stopped in the hallway to grab a hug from my cousin, Laney. She's 7 years old and one of the sweetest kids I've ever known. She gave me the biggest hug and looked up into my eyes with a smile plastered across her face.

"I hope you get everything you've ever wanted for Christmas this year," said Laney.

"Well, I hope you get everything you've ever wanted as well," I replied.

"But I already have everything I've ever wanted, cousin."

"And what's that?" I asked her.

"I have my family. That's all I could ever want," she answered.

The sincerity and honesty emitting from this tiny person was overwhelming and I caught myself holding onto her for another 30 seconds as I took in our special moment. I cupped her cheeks between my hands and looked her in the eyes.

"Don't ever change Laney. You are an incredible person and I love you so much," I told her.

"I love you too, cousin. I'll miss you."

"I'll miss you too," I told her. And I meant it.

I've never encountered such a small person with a heart bigger than you could ever imagine. She loves her family and is truly grateful for each one of us. I'm so thankful I get to call her my cousin.

Love you, Laney. Don't ever change, for anyone.