Will ran to the store. Everyone else from the birthday party had left. I was busy giving Katie's four-year-old twin cousins a bath. Katie and her eight year old cousin J were horsing around in the living room, relishing their lack of adult supervision.
Not that they needed it. J is wise beyond his years.
Their gymnastics halted. Katie evidently didn't realize I could hear them. She said, in a quiet voice, "I want to tell you a secret, J."
"OK." J said. I couldn't see him but I know he shrugged his shoulders the way he does when he says OK.
"Sometimes I still sleep with my mommy and daddy at night." Katie's voice was still quiet and very serious for someone who just turned six that day.
"Why is that a secret?" J asked, sounding slightly annoyed that the secret wasn't very juicy.
"Because," Katie paused. I wondered myself how she would answer this question. What's the big deal? I slept in bed with my sisters until I was twelve.
"Because," she continued. "Other kids sleep in their own beds."
"That's OK." J reassured Katie. "Kids your age have nightmares and get scared a lot and they need their moms and dads. When you're a big kid like me you will feel fine in your own bed."
Eight years old and he's already more empathetic than many grownups I know. I love that kid.