Eric is about 18 months older than Ben, and they had their cousin moments when they were little. It warms my heart to see their daughters now starting down the path of cousin bonding. I made copies of the Facebook photos and sent them to my dear friend Coco (Eric's mother) with a note about how thrilled I was to see our grandchildren coming together.
On my mom's side of the family, there were 27 or 28 first cousins, my brothers and I being among the youngest of the brood. (In fact, my two younger brothers and I are the youngest, and have cousins whose children are closer in age to us.) On my dad's side, there are no first cousins (his sole sibling had no children) but dad had a generous handful of cousins whose ages ranged from older than him to about my age, and children of those cousins who were my age and younger.
I was awash in cousins. At reunions and other gatherings of all kinds, we cousins would come together in clumps, the younger ones playing together outdoors or at the creek or climbing trees or just running in circles making up wild games. The older ones who were not yet adults would stand around swilling pop (soda to all you others out there), cracking jokes and avoiding the elders. There were good times and rich memories.
Cousins are the ornamentation—the braided trim, the novelty buttons—on the family fabric. Cousins are Sandra Kay recounting 50 years later that my brother Mark spit up all over her the first time she held him as a baby. Cousins are Brent telling me about the dead silence in the room when my parents came home after eloping and made their announcement to my mom's father.
Frida and Ramona will not likely remember their early days other than seeing a picture someday in the future. But they are already adding trimmings and notions—a sparkly button here, an embroidered patch there—to the vast family fabric.