Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Last week all three of my girls spent the entire week on my in-laws farm in Alabama for “Cousin Camp.” My in-laws had requested the presence of all 10 of their granddaughters and no parents, for a week of country fun. I was glad to comply but a little worried that my two youngest might get homesick.
All week I fought the urge to call the farm to check on my kids. I missed them, but I realized that calling would only remind them that I wasn’t there and I didn’t want them to waste one second missing me.
I followed along with their adventures on Facebook as my in-laws documented their fun.
They went to visit a beekeeper and after listening to him explain how honey was made, tasted some straight from the hive. They went fishing with homemade cane poles, went on countless mule drawn wagon rides, camped out in their grandparents front yard surrounded by their cousins and learned about constellations.
They went swimming in Smith Lake and squealed with excitement when their Pop Pete traded his overalls for a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, then climbed to the top of the water slide and went swimming in the lake with them.
At the end of the week my Zeb’s mom and two of his sisters helped the girls to make scrapbooks of their week. Aunt Tina sat down to help Sadie, my 4-year-old, to narrarate her book and on every single picture, Tina asked, “What do you want to say about the beekeeper?”
“It was fun,” Sadie said.
“Alright, what do you want to say about fishing?” Tina asked as they flipped to the next page.
“It was fun,” Sadie screamed.
Every page of Sadie’s scrapbook says the same thing: “It was fun.”
This weekend I’ve had the great opportunity of having one-on-one time with my nieces and nephews on my side of the family — a whole different set of 10 kids under 8 years old. What I’ve relished the most is the time I’ve gotten to spend with my siblings’ kids, without their parents around. I’m laughing as I type because that sounds sort of mean, but it’s simply true.
When kids are young they cling to their parents, especially if they are unfamiliar with the other people around. My siblings and I live all over the Southeast so while we talk to each other often, we aren’t all together as often as any of us would like.
The stolen moments I’ve had with my nieces and nephews have been priceless. I made up a bedtime story for my older brother’s two daughters and halfway through the story, his 7-year-old, Ella Grace interrupted me and said, “Hey you’re purdy good at this story-tell business. Tell me another one.”
I tricked his 3-year-old into my lap by continually telling her how much I hate snuggling with little girls and that she stunk so badly that I didn’t think I could be that close to her. She cackled with laughter as she climbed in my lap, wrapped her chubby little arms around my neck and planted kisses all over my face.
During bathtime one night I bathed two nieces, Sadie and my youngest nephew, Bo. Someone tooted in the tub (classic O’Bryant move) and I blamed Sadie.
“It wasn’t me,” she yelled.
Bo, only 18 months old, stood up and screamed at the top of his lungs about five times in a row whilst holding his manhood with both hands, “I Poo Poo.”
His cousins in the tub shrieked with laughter and I laughed until I had tears streaming down my cheeks. We used every towel in my mother’s house to bathe all the kids but after everyone was asleep I sat on the floor, looking at the row of cousins all snuggled together and sighed.
I am so incredibly thankful for inlaws (and outlaws) who love sneaking time with my kids as much as I love sneaking time with theirs. I love that we are all so interested in knowing each other’s children, seeing their sweet and unique personalities.
If I was going to make a scrapbook of the last two weeks, I’d agree with Sadie — it was fun.
Robin O’Bryant is an author, humorist and speaker. Her latest book is “Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves.” Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and visit her blog at www.robinschicks.com.