I am only just beginning to process all of the wonderful gems that came out of spending an entire week with my extended family last week. Here are just a few of the things I learned from the kids (five in all: ages 6, two 8 year olds, 10, 13):
My youngest came to me the day after the interment of my Dad's ashes. She'd had a particularly rough night the night before, waking several times in the middle of the night and getting belligerent and mean about ridiculously trivial things. She asked me to go around the corner with her so we could have some privacy and as we sat down together she put her hands underneath her thighs, lowered her eyes and said, "I just don't feel like myself, Mommy. There is something missing....You know when you're doing a puzzle and you get it all done but there is one piece you can't find and you're really upset? That's me. I have a puzzle piece missing." Whoa! This is my six-year-old.
One night when we were sitting around talking about the virtues of popsicles on a hot day my nephew, who for all intents and purposes appeared to be ignoring the adults as he put together a puzzle (!) on the floor, began humming the theme song to "Kim Possible." My ears perked up because this happens to be a cartoon my girls love. Right as he reached the end he blurted out, "KIM POP-SICLE. Wanna lick?" I laughed so hard (in front of my in-laws and my 13 year old niece who was blushing scarlet) that I literally fell off the couch. Oops.
The one night you pitch a tent in the backyard to have a sleepover with your cousins will be the night we have a thunderstorm and it pours rain. This won't matter because you and your cousins, worn out from swimming and fishing and bouncing on the trampoline and riding the ATV, will sleep right through it and accuse the adults of lying when they tell you about it the next day.
Fishing for the first time with your beloved uncle is so much fun you won't even care if you ever get a bite. Standing on the riverbank in a kid-size fishing vest learning to cast over and over again is enough.
You CAN eat sugar snap peas happily every day for a week if your mother picks them from Grandma's garden each morning.
Cousins are the best invention ever.