It’s been nearly three years since my kids have seen my sister’s family. Three years is a long time if you’re (almost) seven. Or five. Or three. Or eight months.
Ok, ok, it’s a long time if you’re 35, too.
My sister and I both have four kids; two girls and two boys. Hers, ages 11, 9, 7, and 5. Mine, 7, 5, 3, almost 1. That many kids will fill up nearly any space, but when we first arrived they self-segregated in the living room, playing quietly in their own sibling groups, and Mary whispered in my ear to ask which boy was John, and which was Abram.
That lasted for about five minutes.
Then, as if by magic, the awkwardness that was built by three years of separation disappeared.
It seems impossible that something as big as time and distance could shrink so quickly over shared interests of Legos, American Girl dolls, and cannonballs in the pool, but it did.
Maybe it’s the bonding power of toys and games, or perhaps it was kids’ natural resiliency and ability to forge fast friendships. Maybe it’s the magic of being in Grammy and Gramps’s house, where there’s homemade whipped cream every in the morning and everything smells like comfort.
Or maybe it’s that they have mothers who are sisters, whose names appear in each other’s childhood stories, and even though they haven’t lived in the same house for 18 years, they still fold clothes, rub backs, and mispronounce words the exact same way.
Actually, scratch all that. The credit goes to these kids, every single one of them. They got along so well because they’re imaginative, kind, creative, and a whole lot of fun. We had a wonderful visit because these kids are maybe the best ever.
(It’s probably most definitely genetic.)
We’re already planning our next visit, so hopefully three years won’t pass before we can line the kids up and try to get them to look at the camera and smile with only minimal shenanigans.
Just kidding, shenanigans are like the greatest thing about cousins. We can barely wait until next time.