reunion n. 1 the act of reuniting 2 a gathering of persons after separation (a family reunion) (Webster’s)
“I hope he doesn’t mind making up our own things with Legos,” said my youngest son before his cousin came for a play date.
Although these boys are only three weeks apart in age, they couldn’t be more different. My nephew is a serious child who lines his shoes up neatly at the door, follows Lego directions with zeal, reads books voraciously, and prefers “leans” to “hugs.” My son’s goal is to get his work done so he can play. I’m fortunate if his sand-filled shoes make it into the closet. His Legos sets are mixed together in a plastic container or scattered throughout the drawers in his room along with the discarded directions. He would much rather hear me read a chapter book in my repertoire of character voices than read silently. Giving hugs is kin to a full-contact sport.
I appreciated my son’s concern.
My cousin on my mother’s side and I couldn’t be more different. She enjoys cooking, sewing, and has a doctorate in chemistry. When we were kids, she gave me all five books she owned. I cook because we have to eat, my sewing machine is in storage at my mother’s, and I have already posted about my extensive library, which includes my cousin’s five books. Our mothers often joked they had birthed each other’s daughters. But, my cousin and I are best friends. We may approach life from opposite interest spectrums, but when we met for dinner last week, we laughed the way we did during childhood overnights and when I lived at her house during my college summers.
My son may not understand yet how cousins who live miles, even countries apart, can find instant comradary. One of my Canadian cousins on my father’s side and I have only seen each other half a dozen times in our forty years of living. Yet, since the time my family visited Canada when I was in junior high to this week at our family reunion, we resume our friendship as if we have never been apart. When you have 37 first cousins, searching for each other in the crowd and finding a moment to chat is no small accomplishment. We wish we had lived closer to one another as children, but lack of proximity has not lessened the closeness of our friendship.
Still, I know first-hand the desire for proximity, especially when it comes to my sister and brother.
My sister and her family traveled here from Oregon. We have sought out opportunities to “swap kids” over the years, so our children can get to know each other better. Last summer, her children spent a weekend at our camper. How we fit seven people and two dogs in a 32-foot travel trailer, I still do not know. But, we had a blast! This weekend, my brother-in-law captured an adorable picture of my fourteen-year-old son and four-year-old nephew swinging at the park. Already we are planning an exchange trip for him to visit them next summer.
My brother was thirteen when he and our parents moved to Ohio after my first year of college. Of course, we see each other at Christmas and on family vacations, but I did not have the privilege of growing up with my brother. As God’s will would have it, his family is moving within five miles of mine! Not only am I looking forward to watching his son and daughter get to know my sons and for my sister-in-law and I to have spontaneous knit-ins, but I am relishing the opportunity to get to know my brother better. We may not have seen each other grow up, but we certainly can laugh about growing older!
Hoping my nephew and son would gain the appreciation I have for my cousins and siblings, I did decide to give them an advantage. I treated them to $10 each for Lego sets since I had to stop at Target for that “some assembly required” bookcase. My nephew appreciated a complete set of directions after seeing my son’s hodge-podge pieces, and my son appreciated someone else putting the vehicles and people together so he could play with them faster. By the end of the day, they were exchanging books and getting excited about Lego League. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!