The nine people I love most are together this weekend. I’m not with them but I see them clearly. In my mind. They are thousands of miles away but very much with me. I can envision the teasing looks and wry humor of the four adults. I can hear the squeals of laughter and delight from the younger set … five little grandchildren, five little cousins. Getting acquainted anew.
I sit under the shade of two sturdy oaks, watching the ripples of a lake populated by other people’s grandchildren. But I am really miles away … in a sunlit house where a grown son and daughter, their spouses, and my Ben, Sophie, Olivia, Hannah and Iris are sitting at a table, eating breakfast, enjoying each other’s company. My son is cooking, my son-in-law is probably brewing coffee, my daughter and daughter-in-law are laughing and catching up on almost two years’ worth of family history.
The kids may or may not be sitting down to enjoy the gourmet breakfast. They may be racing through the house, giggling and becoming the fast friends I want them to be - the cousin-friends who will email each other and share news and secrets as they grow up. I never had a sibling but I had plenty of cousins. Cousins are neat. They don’t hang around long enough to annoy you and barge into your bedroom. They are user-friendly.
The grown-ups will be getting re-acquainted too. Distance is a bummer. Brothers and sisters need to be reminded, in person, of just how special a bond they share. They need to hug and touch, laugh and cry. I loved my cousins but, truth be told, I did miss a brother or sister – even if I would have had to share my space.
I wish I could be with them all at this very moment. I am. In my heart.
A sudden breeze ruffles my hair and my gaze returns to the families around me. A group at a picnic table is singing “Happy Birthday, dear Laura ..." Applause. Shouts to the birthday girl to “open your presents”.
Gifts of the heart and mind.
The people I love most in all the world are together this weekend.
I am content. I can live with that.