Once a year, the cousins (the eight kids that my siblings and I have added to this clan over the last 17 years) gather in Maine. It's a big deal -- and a reliable annual summer event that we all (I suspect that I might be mis-speaking for all our spouses who must, as a result of this great cousin gathering, also be subjected to all our family craziness) look forward to.
Sure, throughout the year, different subsets of this fabulous group of eight get together -- but the whole group (due to significant geographical distance between some of us) only gets together once a year. During the cousin extravaganza - typically a span of a week or two -- there are a lot of activities and gatherings. Beach days. Boating trips. Island trips. Sleepovers. Backyard adventures. Theatrical performances. Baseball games. Oh, and, well, in the spirit of honestly (lest you all think I have the perfect family) melt downs, conflicts, negotiations and moments of desperately wanting the extravaganza to be over.
During Cousin Extravaganza, there is a whole lot of Maine-style living. Sure, in part because that's our style. But, also, in part, because one of my siblings lives in Hawaii and, well, as any Maine-r who is transplanted would agree, when one returns to Maine there is a whole lot of necessary catching up to do. Concentrated living is what we call this. It comes out in funny ways--like my brother making himself sick nearly every year by consuming lobster in some fashion at least once a day for the entire extravaganza.
Really, despite some of the tensions and exhaustion that accompany this family adventure, it IS one of the things I most look forward to. To see cousins -- ranging from 14 months to 17 years -- playing, bonding, helping each other out -- it is what life is all about.
Like my children, I grew up with (and still have -- though rarely the entire clan) annual gatherings of cousins--complete with joy, conflict and all--and, to this day, I cherish both those memories and those relationships. (One of my cousins is author of the fabulous LoveVermont blog, by the way.)
How about you? Do cousins play a big role in your life?
I'm a Maine-r. Or, at least I like to think I am. True locals will argue differently simply because I wasn't born in Maine -- I'm "from away" they say. Whatever. It is crystal clear to me that I was born to live in Maine. Here's the catch. I fell in love with someone who really is "from away". So, I spend big chunks of time in a place very far from where I call home. But, I'm trying to bloom where planted, as they say. I'm trying to foster a simple (or at least a little simpler than some), reasonably wholesome and creative life for my family whether we're here or there. And, well, since you stopped here at my blog, you get to explore this craziness with me.