We are all sitting on the beach, reacquainting ourselves, wondering why the last time we saw each other was my Grandma’s funeral, and laughing that we live in the same state, but had to travel over a thousand miles to happen to be at the same beach.
“There must be a way to see each other more often,” we all say.
“Remember when we had big family picnics?”
Someone gets up to snap a group photo, and I am instantly in a time warp, remembering a faded picture in one of my parents’ photo albums. I was about 7, I’d guess. Sitting on a lake beach somewhere near my hometown. Some of the same people were there, but also other aunts and uncles, and different cousins, since these cousins weren’t born yet.
“So weird,” I reflect, as I ask my dad if he remembers that picture.
“One day this will be a faded picture,” I shudder.
“Mom,” I hear, “don’t worry. This will never be a faded picture. Pictures don’t fade anymore – they’re digital.”
We talk with my dad and uncle, getting a few stories of their childhood. Marveling that my dad is the second oldest sibling, the oldest boy; my uncle is the youngest. They are 11 years apart. 10 kids in 12 years!
We ask age old questions like, “How did you get to the beach with 10 kids every summer? You didn’t go in one car, right?”
“A station wagon,” my dad says and he and my uncle try to explain how some sat in the way back, there were no seatbelts, and they just piled in.
“No, no, no,” my uncle says shaking his head. “There were 2 cars. There were 2 cars for traveling.”
A game of bocce ball starts, but I sit out to chat some more with some cousins, and we watch the game as we have a heart to heart.
“It’s just so great to see them all over there!” my cousin says. I am reminded that my cousins love family just like I do. They leave the beach first, off to get ready for a night out: A girls night I am invited to, but can’t attend. More hugs are given all around and they walk away.
After they leave, my kids need a refresher on my cousins since there are so many. They want to know who is the child of which sibling.
“It’s so weird,” they say. “We haven’t seen them for years and everyone just starts talking and talking like you see each other all the time.”
“Yep,” I say, “that’s because we are cousins!”