Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cousin Time...

A couple of weeks ago, we spent a week vacationing with my family (at my parents' home). The main purpose was to celebrate my Dad's 60th birthday. He's an amazing guy, and deserved to be celebrated in a big and fabulous way. For this big event, my sister and her family came in from Ottawa, and the boys and I were determined to spend as much time with them as possible.

It's tough having my sister live on the other side of the continent.  But she and I have no trouble talking for long extended hours each week - the phone makes the distance seem much smaller.  What the phone doesn't do is allow me the time to hug and cuddle and watch my niece and nephew grow up. So these moments together are HUGE. 

I grew up in a big family - there are 9 cousins on each side.  We spent a LOT of time with our cousins growing up - and have the awkward 80's pictures to prove it.  And I am so lucky that as an adult, I am still close with my cousins, and have the opportunity (thanks, facebook!) to keep up with their lives on a regular basis. In fact, here's a pic of just a few us and our children at my dad's party:

I want that same thing for my boys. But when your only cousins live so far away, it's tough. So we do our best to make the best of the situation, and the kids play together every second of our time together.

My oldest, by nature of his age, and, well, his bossy nature, is usually the ringleader.  He chooses the activity, and gets the "littles" going. My youngest is 5 months older than his cousin, my sister's oldest.  Up until this visit, they have had a very adversarial relationship. But for the first time, this visit they spent extended times playing together, off in their own imaginary world. And the baby?  Well, right now he's best at just being cute.  Both of my boys adore him and are very protective of him, and my youngest just can't wait until he's old enough to join in the games.  (Secretly, I think he's just hoping that the baby will be the one person he gets to be the "boss" of.)

Here are just a few pictures of their week together:

Group puzzle assembly

Chess with Aunt Erin

Puzzle time

Digging in the dirt

Watching for fish in the stream
Anyone who knows my kiddos knows just how much they adore their grandparents.  And when it came time to leave, and the oldest was upstairs wailing and gnashing his teeth about going home, I thought that was leaving them that was so hard. But it wasn't.  "But, mama, it will be months until I get to play with my cousins again! That is just too long.  I love them soooooo much!" While I hated to see him hurting, I was so glad to hear how much he enjoyed his time with them. We made promises of more-regular iChats, gave big hugs, and have already talked on the phone several times.  And still, on a daily basis,  my boys talk about the great time they had on vacation with their cousins.
Gotta love the cousin time!

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