Monday, September 5, 2011

We Are Family

Cousin [kuhz-uhn]: noun

1) the son or daughter of an uncle or aunt.
2) one related by descent in a diverging line from a known common ancestor, as from one's grandparent or from one's father's or mother's sister or brother.
3) a kinsman or kinswoman; relative.
4) a person or thing related to another by similar natures, languages, geographical proximity, etc

This summer, the kids' and I had the privilege of discovering the meaning of the word cousin in a much more profound way than the uncreative Mr. Webster came up with. In the middle of July, my sister traveled to Pittsburgh from Georgia with her seven children to meet Charlie and celebrate James' first birthday. Two weeks later, Greg's brother and sister-in-law traveled from Ithaca with their three little ones to meet Charlie. The moments of those visits passed as quickly as the flash of the camera that tried to capture them, as my children laughed and danced and slept snuggled up with these cousins they see too rarely and yet share so much with.

Emily & Chloe enjoying "Girls Night Out"

 Sisters enjoying it as much as the girls. These two are my closest friends in the world, and I am so, so grateful that God chose them to be my sweet sisters. We have been through thick and thin together and will forever have each other's backs. I don't know what I would do without them.

 We went to Yum for some fro-yo after the girls' mani/pedis, and they found an outdoor stage that they entertained us on.

Sweet Hailey meeting Charlie. This little girl's heart is as big as her smile.

Mischievous Hannah meeting Charlie. This little girl's personality is as big as her smile!

Darling Tyler meeting Charlie. He reminds us so much of his Daddy. 

After everyone's visits, I decided to come up with my own definition of the word cousin.

Cousin [kuhz-uhn]: noun (and often verb, and sometimes adjective)

1) A fort-building, sleeping bag-toting, trampoline-jumping, outdoor stage-dancing, ice cream-loving, movie night-watching, nearly perfect companion, whose visit you wait for as if he was Santa Clause or she was the Tooth Fairy.
2) An indulger of too much junk food, too little sleep, and the inevitable tantrums that follow.
3) A little boy with the same pirate's grin and gentle spirit as his dad.
4) A little girl who looks and talks so much like her mama that as you listen to her you're suddenly five years old and whispering to your older sister in the backyard of your hundred-year-old house on 17th street.
5) Kids that share the same grandparents and great-grandparents, the same eye shape and history. The same blood is running through their veins, and the same character flaws, handed down from generation to generation, will rear their ugly heads as they grow older and learn to overcome them.
6) Family. Honest-to-goodness, unchangeable, unshakeable family. God's handcrafted, carefully chosen creation; His gift to each one of us to sustain us and bring us joy. There is almost nothing in life more important than that.

"But from everlasting to everlasting
   the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
   and his righteousness with their children’s children."
Psalm 103:17

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