Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cousins Forever!

Grandma's House - where cousins go to become friends......

A year or so ago, one of my grandma friends directed me to a blog post written by an ultra refined grandmother. Her manicured vintage English garden was the setting for a story book child's cottage - the place grandchildren frequented to practice becoming young ladies and men. Cousins, attired in Sunday best, peeked about coyly - ladies from beneath graciously adorned, brimmed sunhats - gentlemen from above crisp bow ties. They followed a pretty primrose path to their destination - a dainty cove for sipping tea from Peter Rabbit china cups, nibbling tiny morsels, and conversing in hushed tones. Regal Queen Grandmother beamed with rightful pride and took photographs galore.

"There!" my friend declared. "You could so do that too!"

Hmmm. I pictured us at that time. What if we had been invited for a visit? That enchanted dollhouse would have been immediately commandeered by the boys as a "police station," stuffed full of "bad guys" - Bree's dolls, handcuffed with jump ropes. She would be screaming her head off. Every flower around us would wilt in terror. Not one of our party would be caught dead wearing prissy heirloom pearl necklaces, ones "the regulars" wove about their slender necks. Not a chance. Ours would have been pressed into service as leashes for the "police dog." That lovely grandmother hostess, recoiling in horror, would spray us all with a hose, ordering us back to the barbarian quarters from which we emerged. Each fanciful curlicue on the ornate iron gate would shudder its disgust as it slammed firmly behind us.

But that was sooo last year!

Perhaps it has been me who has grown up in that time, acquiring skills that make for a pleasant and fulfilling experience each time grandchildren cousins convene for a weekend sleepover at grandma's - the place, hopefully, where they will gather for many years and become fast friends.

Children enjoy traditions. Do something fun once, and they'll ask for it again and again. For us, it's ice cream making - incentive to eat healthy at dinner because 20 minutes from the punch of the "start" button only kids with clean plates will be invited to dip in!

I probably should cringe when Sae proudly announces that, "Grandma lets us stay up as late as we want!" But what the heck - it's the truth! We love the dark and have lots of fun in it. During summer, we enjoy our Night Hikes. Until it's warm enough for those, we move our adventures inside. For starters, there's hide-and-seek with dollar store glow sticks. Sweet little kids. They hide in obvious places and call out, "Grandma! Over here! And Nick's over there!" Bless their little hearts. Far too considerate to let a ditzy old lady stumble and bumble around in the dark all night minus a clue to where she is!

And then we wind up the evening with a Night Picnic. Ever heard of those? Perhaps not. I've initiated them to tide us over the winter. There are platters of snacks: cheese, crackers, fruit and veggie sticks. We line up our sleeping bags and crawl into them. Every kiddo gets a flashlight and the lights go off. We read books in the dark, nibble away and drift off toward toothbrush time, unwinding after a day of fun and togetherness. This is where and how cousins become lifelong friends. And it all begins during the years when one of the best parts of life is having a grandma who "lets us do whatever we want!"

Yep, I've been busted for that too!
By this little guy!


  1. BUST out laughing / almost spit out my coffee. LOL YES!! The boys would certainly make a police station and handcuff the dolls. My son ( Brent's dad ) used to pull the heads off of my niece's Barbies :) Just to see how they were put together, mind you :) You are so love the dark and flashlights. I remember a few winter evenings with Kate and Brent running around with flashlights, screaming with laughter and having a blast....your picnics sound wonderful.

  2. Gatherings at your house sound like pure magic! You are creating wonderful memories for your grand children.

  3. "where cousins go to become friends" I just love that line! It was certainly part of my childhood. Going to Grandma's met playing with cousins!!!!!!!!!!!!! The best friends one could ever have.

    I love your night time activities! And Amara would much rather go to a FUN tea party at your house than at that other "stuffy" place! We're all about the fun!

  4. My cousins are the last living link to my childhood. I seldom see them and only keep in touch through facebook, but they are strong threads in the fabric of family that I will treasure all my life. And yes, Grandma's house was where we frequently got together. Thank you for evoking some warm memories.

  5. Ha ha, awwww bless them, they are just so cute! I am not surprised that they love sleep overs at your house, J, they sound so exciting! They will remember these times forever, you are creating such wonderful memories for them. My children cannot get enough of hide and seek too, and they nearly always give their hiding place away. I think it's just the sheer excitement of getting "found." :))

  6. So much fun - I love the night time picnic - at our house any time is a good time for a picnic. When our middle grandson was asked why he liked to come to our house he said - because they let me do whatever I want. Welllll - that's the truth - and that's the way it should be. And if my kids think back just a little they realize the most of the time they got to do whatever they wanted. We still have lessons in good manners and politeness, and clean up after ourselves - but doing whatever we want is just too much fun, so we can't help it. Love the ice cream watchers!!!

  7. Your home sounds like a wonderful place -- your grandchildren are so lucky to have a fun place to visit! :)

  8. Ah Joyce! Fun with the cousins! Your night time adventures do sound fun and something I may try to do one night :) Yes I get busted sometimes too, yesterday in fact! That line 'Where cousins go to become best friends' ? I wrote that across the top of my DIY chalk board in the craft area last month! I love that line...and it is so true. I am so glad to have grandchildren to brighten our life.

  9. Oh what fun! I always envisioned something like that. But for me, the road separated and all my grandkids live a state or more apart :) We do get together occasionally, but not like this. BUT I DO enjoy moments like this with each SET of grandkids and we do have most delightful adventures. Tho I must say, if I showed them this, they'd ALL be saying - WE WANT TO DO THOSE NIGHTTIME ADVENTURES OUTSIDE! You are SOOO brave on that one. But we have enjoyed camping out on the floor in the living room more than once - and those were pretty adventurous as well as we were "waiting out" the tornado warnings with the wind swirling madly around us. :)

    Any which way, aren't we so BLESSED by all these grand adventures - different ways, different times, different goodies - yet bonding together over the same GRAND joys of adventures with our grandkids.

    Thank you for such an enjoyable visit and the smile on my face. Off to share :)

  10. What a great attitude about your role in your grandchildren's lives - providing a place where cousins can have fun, even if the rules at home don't apply. My granddaughter and I started a tradition of having tea where I get out my mother's silver tea pot and crystal tea cups and we make the food. This summer, as I recover from chemo, I didn't mention it, but granddaughter did not forget. The only change I made was that all the dishes had to be dishwasher-able. It felt great to have such a tradition now firmly established for an 8-year-old. Thanks for the lovely article.

  11. I can only imagine the laughter and the squeals going on after the lights go out. Doll houses, police stations, whatever - they are using their imaginations and having fun 'together.' I bet when a mom mentions heading to grandma's for an overnight with cousins, the kids are in the car before the bags are packed. :-)

  12. I love your opening sentence. I had a huge group of first cousins (about 40 of us) that became friends by spending weekends at our grandmother's home. Then we moved more than 500 miles away when I was about 11 years old and lost touch with most of them except for funerals and weddings. That makes me a little sad.

    But I love your night-time ideas. I'm totally stealing them for next time my girls visit. I'm also going to break out our little ice cream freezer too. Why have I never thought of that before? Thanks for the great ideas!