Cousins

This week, we have had the pleasure of hosting the hubby’s brother and his daughter, our niece, J for a few days. I am constantly amazed watching the little relationships between the boys and their first cousins. It’s that kind of immediate friendship, instant playmate. Doesn’t matter that there is an age difference. Doesn’t matter that they only see each other a handful of times a year. These relationships are built quickly and waiting for the next visit. It’s a mixture of awe and commonality. A bond that these little people seem to understand and model based on the grown-up relationships around them.

My own cousins were the best playmates we had during the summers my parents would send us to New England to visit my grandparents during the height of North Carolina’s heat and tobacco-scented humidity. We were lucky to have cousins around our age that lived next door to my grandparents and there were marathon games of hide and seek, waitress pretend play that always had us getting into trouble with Grandma for using the wrong curtains to play dress up in or using up the dish soap in our “restaurant,” intricate plays we created and performed, swimming and boating and rainy day movies. It didn’t matter that we only saw each other once a year or that we weren’t intimately involved in each other’s daily lives. It was that lightning recognition of family and forever friendship. Picking up where we left off. Always having each other’s backs because our names were inked in black on various branches of the family tree that hung in my grandparent’s dining room.

I’m reassured and buoyed today by the giggling and games and fart jokes that have been traded with the next generation of cousins. The desperation my 4 year old has for his older cousin’s attention. The satisfaction they all have when they succeed in making the other laugh. The compromise worked out as to what game they’ll play next.

It may be a few months before my boys see their cousins again due to our geographic distance, but I know that this visit will be the next touchpoint. The reference at their next meeting that will build the new games and jokes and fun. This cousin relationship dynamic is still new and fresh for my boys. It is expected and silly and evolving. It is filled with acceptance and love and excitement.

And even with a bit of hide and seek.

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