Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Cousin Returns

A major, and I mean, major, reason why we moved to Iowa was to be closer to at least one side of our families. While most of my family is spread out, Michelle's family is geographically pretty close together. That meant Iowa.

We knew this move would be good for our children – and for us. In fewer than three months, Nathaniel and Isaiah have been to Grandma's several times now, they've seen their uncle Matt at least three times, and they see their Mimi and Aunt Rachel daily, as we're living with them while our new house gets made habitable.

Tonight, our boys will see their cousin again, too.

Nathaniel and Isaiah have three older cousins courtesy of my sister and their Uncle Rob. My sister had children earlier, and I had mine later, so there is a significant age gap. Amazingly, despite differences in age and many other things, my sister's children are wonderful around Nathaniel and Isaiah and even seem to like being with them. Soon, though, they will have better things to do. I understand that.

The cousin who arrives tonight is right in the middle, age-wise, to our two boys. Her name is Kenley, and they've all gotten to know each other quite well. Barring any unforeseen developments, they will see each other regularly. They will grow up together. Their bonds will strengthen. I expect they will become quite close, like best friends.

Kenley and her parents – Michelle's brother Ryan and sister-in-law Jonie – live in Nebraska. State next door. We've seen them three times already, I think, and this visit will be the fourth. The last time we got together, we all went to the zoo in Omaha and spent the night in Lincoln. While I attended a conference, Michelle and the boys returned to Ryan, Jonie and Kenley's home, and the cousins palled around even more.

Nathaniel and Kenley at the Omaha Zoo

Isaiah and Kenley at the Hastings children's museum

The time before that, we traveled to their home to celebrate Kenley's second birthday. One of my fondest memories from that weekend was watching Kenley and Nathaniel sitting at a children's picnic table, jabbering away at each other as they socked down hamburgers and fruit. They looked like old friends, catching up.

Maybe they are. But surely they are making memories and solidifying a familial bond.

Beginning tomorrow, there will be more of that.

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