I was born in the same town that Radar O'Riley came from - Ottumwa, Iowa, for all you M*A*S*H fans out there. But that is a complete non-sequitur, and you are no longer responsible for that information. My cousins were also Midwestern, but not from the great state of Iowa. That doesn't mean we never got together.
I remember Betzi taking on her brother Dave and all my brothers in a wrestling match - all at once. She won. To this day, my advice is don't mess with Betzi. I remember my younger cousin, Mike, lamenting that it wasn't fair his parents wouldn't let him see "Jaws". It was, after all, just a mechanical shark. Brave words for a kid of single digits. Wendy and Kathy were older and beautiful to my gawky junior high eyes. I was in awe - still am. The same year my sister was born, two other girl cousins joined our ranks: Missy and Nancy. Triplets of sorts. I love my cousins so much that I have even shared my grandparents with them, and I wouldn't do that for just anyone!
On the home front, the other day we got together with our boys and their families for dinner at Court and Christine's house. I think it might be because the house is set up for kids, including a backyard that is wide open for play, but it was a wonderful cousin gathering. And if you know what I mean, it was more of a cousin gathering than a grandboy gathering, but maybe you had to be there to know the difference. It wasn't about them playing with Granma and Grampa, it was about them playing with each other.
There were enough adult hands to hold Elijah and protect him from stray wiffle balls. (Not to mention it's best to take turns holding Squirmy.) Corey was all time pitcher for the wiffle ball game and Court was in charge of tracking down foul balls and home runs - or at least lifting a child over the fence and back for their retrieval. (BTW, I hit a home run! I also struck out and dribbled one back to pitcher's hand. Just call me the Babe.) There were also bubbles in the air, along with Frisbees and soccer balls.
As the evening cooled off, the need for reviving sugar called to us. We all trooped inside to decorate and eat sugar cookies. Tyler has a rather interesting technique: lick the cookie, add sprinkles, repeat. Apparently he isn't a fan of frosting, but he does love colored sugar. Go figure.
Despite bed time calling, to Granma anyway, we made our way down to the basement to build a Playmobile castle. It was quite the sweet disaster area, punctuated at times by the whines of the younger generation refusing to admit their need for slumber.
Just as Bryce proposed a trade: Josiah for Tyler, or Squirmy for Tyler, the party broke up. There were rounds of slobbery kisses and boy hugs of various dimensions. (Boy hugs come in a variety of squishing abilities and locations: legs, necks, ankles and midsection. Beware the midsection. It means the grandboy is now tall enough and strong enough to knock the wind right out of you during his loving embrace.) Tyler was seat belted into the car, as was his brother. Better luck with the swap next time, Bryce.
Cousins, the original playmates, being established in the next generation. I wonder what memories they will take with them.