"A cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost."
-Marion C. Garretty
Last summer my sisters and I rounded up the nieces and nephews for a Cousin Weekend, where we played, swam, did a project, ate, and played some more. Each night had a theme--the spa night went over much better for us adults, because camping night required sleeping in a tent in my backyard on the hard, bumpy ground with no air mattress with a bunch of giggly girls (okay, so maybe my sisters and I giggled a lot, too). This year's Cousin Weekend was on a much smaller scale, and we broadened the invitation list to include our cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Instead of an entire weekend, it was only an afternoon on the beach. The shortened time frame certainly didn't detract from the fun and the bonding and the memories. We've decided to make it a tradition.
Preschool graduation. I'm the third from the left in the back. My cousin Jaci is standing next to me in the red dress. We were in the same grade all through school. (Oh, hey, Krissy and Jessica!)
My cousin Jaci waits while I get my turn on Santa's lap.
It has always been important to me for my kids to be close to their cousins because my own cousins have played such a huge role in my life growing up. I read somewhere that cousins are your first friends, and I can personally attest to that. We lived about a block away from my Grandma Faye growing up, and her house was always bustling with family. We met at her house every Sunday after church for coffee and rolls, and often had impromptu family BBQs throughout the summer. The summer BBQs were much preferred by the cousins for a few reasons: (1) We sat on a picnic table outside away from the adults' watching eyes and were able to sneak the unfavorable food onto an unsuspecting baby's plate. (2) When we had family gatherings in the colder months, the kids had to squeeze together on the floor of the small laundry room to eat. I now wish I had a picture of this. Why weren't our parents picture-a-holics like me?
|I'm the one in the Calvin Klein sweatshirt in case you were trying to pick me out of the lineup of very stylin' young girls.|
Weren't we precious? Especially Mrs. Stripey McStriperson myself? And my sister Sheila, Mrs. Nose Picker? Who knew Jaci would rank as the most normal?
Since my children don't have a gaggle of cousins like I do, I revel in their relationships with their second cousins, my cousins' children. Spencer especially enjoys time spent with them, referring to them as his friends. As in: I had fun playing with my friends. Or: Are my friends eating supper with us? And: Are my friends staying at Ant Hopey's house, too?
|One Christmas we posed on this chair for picture after picture. No joke. Almost all 24 pictures on the old school film were some variation of this same photograph. I'm the one holding the doll, by the way.|
|Me and my cousin Suzi at a tennis match.|
First cousins. Second cousins. Friends who might as well be cousins. They're all the same--family. And I most definitely cherish whatever time spent with them. Here's a big fat, loud, obnoxious, Swenson-style THANK YOU to all my cousins, my first friends.
I didn't take many pictures this weekend, mostly because I was afraid I'd drop my beloved phone in the nasty lake water. But I also figured the cousins wouldn't appreciate their swim suit bodies being plastered on the internet for all to see. (Am I right?) So here are the moments I did capture:
|Swinging at a park near Aunt Hopey's house Friday night. He insisted on having that apple all through supper and then needed to bring it with to the park.|
|Spencer has his very own bed in his very own room at Aunt Hopey's house now. And Ashton is finishing Spencer's cereal. Some things don't change, even when you're away from home.|
The family is in the background.
|He found these goggles and then didn't want to take them off.|
|Post beach pizza party at Hope's house.|
|Reveling in Uncle Brian's "Look But Don't Touch Adult Toys." They barely noticed the wall of Matchbox cars.|