When I was just 6 or 7, we would spend long frozen days during winter school breaks on Texas Drive.  That is where my cousins lived, not too far for a quick trip but far enough away that it felt like another world.

 We would spend hours outside building snow forts from which we would launch massive attacks—boys vs girls perhaps.  We would come in and drink hot chocolate sitting around Aunt Mo’s table and belt out the words to Proud Mary…Big Wheels Keep on Turning…Proud Mary keep on buring….Rollin’  Rollin’ Rollin on the River. At night we would hover under blankets, reading our books by flashlight, talking in hushed whispers.  Or we would hide downstairs and blast our music, dancing and giggling and trading new moves.

 

Now I am here again with my dear cousins and as dusk becomes inky night we are dancing with flashlights as mics, belting out the words to other 70s tunes.  We are rising before the sun to all of us float our kayaks out to the middle of the lake to watch the sun rise.  We are eating each other’s food and scolding each other’s children and sitting silently in the sun, our eyes on a book, relishing being simply there together.

 The only thing more pleasant that being together again, across the years to revel in the love only cousins can know- the unconditional love of family without the monotony of siblinghood-is to see Max making his own cousin memories.

From the minute the sun rises they are off, catching frogs and minnows, playing imaginary games, and board games, and hide and seek, fishing and sneaking treats when they think we aren’t looking. 

 They move through the various cabins as a tribe—asking together for food, for permission, for help untangling fishing rods.  We need to remind them to include the little one—he is three now and wants to tag along.  It is his cousin week too.  It is his memories that need to be made as well.

Each night, Max whispers the same thing to me as he drifts off to sleep.  I wish we lived here Mama he says.  I know what he is craving—the long lazy days filled with people who love you…no matter. 

 

51 weeks will go by between this week and the next.  We will leave with the best of intentions—to keep in touch, to trade emails, to visit.  We will have plans of weekend trips we will take together—of meeting halfway between.  But the hustle and bustle of our lives will overtake us all.  We won’t hear from each other at all but then before we know it I will be on the road to Maine and my cell phone will buzz—a voicemail is waiting.

 

“Meg…Its Kevin.  We are at on the highway, crossing over into Maine.  Wondering where you are and when you will be here.”

 

And my heart will relax into a way of being that is only possibly in the presence of one’s cousins.  And I will say, under my breath…I am there Kev…I am always there.  My heart is just a beat away from this.

 

For Kevin, Christine, Maureen, Eileen, Shawn and Rich…and Lisa too. I love you, I love you, I love you

6 Responses to “Cousins Week”

  1. Ange Says:

    Love the idea, thank you for bringing me with too.

  2. Shawn Says:

    I rememember those days oh so fondly! But, it wasn’t boys against girls! At least not cousin wise! I would have lost that battle, and it would have been a bloody one. I was the lone boy! Sean and Rich were way to young to participate, so it was me against you and Ei! But, I was way to smart to enter into battle alone! I recruited the neighborhood kids! And the boys outnumbered the girls! Me and the DiPietros (Paul and Steven) wore those snow fort championsips on our sleeves! And after the snow battles is where I lost. I had to listen to you and Eileen belt out “Proud Mary”, as you said. But on top of that, the “Grease” soundtrack burned my eardrums, and “Forever in Blue Jeans”. And I heard the non-stop chatter about Shawn Cassidy! But, in the end, it was all worth it! It lead to the “adult cousin time”! The weekend trips that Bill Peckrul and I made to Holy Cross. Drinking too much, singing to “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”, and those God forsaken hills that we had to walk up! And Ultimately, these weekends in Maine, where it is new “cousin time”.

  3. Meg Says:

    Oh my gosh – I grew up around so many of my cousins on the one side of the family, and the others we vacationed with annually. I have such hugely fond memories of spending time with them. I feel the same way about my aunts and uncles and are happy that they are still a big part of my life. I feel sad that my kids won’t know the same thing of their own aunts and uncles, simply because we live far enough from them that seeing them often isn’t possible.

    Thanks for this reflection, Meg!

  4. Jennifer Ballantyne Says:

    Beautiful times Meg and I love that Max is creating his own ‘cousin memories’ and the thought that perhaps he will bring his kids to Maine one day and meet with his cousins and their kids! Just brilliant and such a lovely life. Hugs J xxx

  5. Eileen Says:

    Meg, wow! Such amazing times then and now. We don’t always take the time to realize it but we are truly blessed with the family we have – and the cousin network rules both old and new.

    Love ya!

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