Wednesday, September 3, 2014

When we were little...

I read somewhere once that cousins are a person's first friends.

When Jessi and I were little (and I'm talking pre-Loren and Will here) we were with our cousins and first friends every Sunday. 

We would go to church together with our respective families and then afterwards, we usually had dinners at our Pappaw and Grannie's. Sometimes we got to go to my aunt's house for a change of scenery and on the rare and very special occasion, we ate at Hamlin's.We spent every Christmas Eve together. The 4th of July was always at my aunt's house.

We had a routine of sorts. We knew where we would be on certain days and we knew that we would all be together. Age wise I'm the middle kid of the cousins, but I felt like I had the best of both worlds. I had older girl cousins so I got to do cool stuff that Jessi and my younger boy cousin didn't necessarily get to do. But when the older girls didn't want someone five years younger than them like I am with them, I got to be with the younger crowd. Then, of course, on the days we were with one another because that's where our families were, it was a great day as well. We experienced a lot of things together and as kids are prone to do, got into trouble together. Part of where I get my courage to try new things is from all of my experiences with my cousins.

Then my pappaw got sick and passed away. Suddenly, our world was different. Things weren't the same and we weren't all together anymore. We couldn't, because our pappaw wasn't physically here. We still got together, but it hurt because we knew someone was missing.

Then Loren and Will were born.

It's crazy to think about, but when families are younger there's a natural closeness that happens because there aren't all the activities to do when the kids in the families are older. The getting together part becomes harder. The families have new obligations to make in order to make new families begin down the line.

At the time, we still made the important dates together, but the dinners every Sunday after church didn't happen anymore. We all kept getting older and well like I said... life happened. Our Grannie passed away as well and it was harder because now two people were missing. Loren and Will didn't get the experience that the older five of us did when we were little.

This year the oldest cousin and I were both expecting. In fact, Lily has an older second cousin. He's super cute and part of what I thought about was the two of them being together initially. Obviously things turned out differently.

(Side note: I'm sure some people are tired of hearing about that by now, but it's my reality. I think talking about what is real as opposed to living in denial of what my story is probably better for me.)

But here is my point: As I assume you've gathered by now, all of us hadn't been together in a long time. The cousins are now adults with jobs and babies of our own to take care of and life has kept us busy.

When Lily was born, through the power of technology, all seven of us got to be together again. This past Labor Day weekend, we got to be together again physically too, husbands, boyfriends, and Lily's older cousin too. We laughed about all our old times and explained to Loren and Will how my dad and our cousins' momma act like our Pappaw and Grannie in their own ways.

We hit up Lake Tenkiller on Sunday. While we were out there I thought about the past month and all that has happened. I couldn't help but smile. It was like riding a bike, the seven of us being together like we were little again. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Lily did that.

While it's still really hard that she isn't here with us, it's still really great that part of her story is we are all together again. Lily gave us a reality check. It's important for us to be together even when it's hard. Helps to know what we have is really great and special and will continue when other loved ones go on to heaven.

It's worth saying again...my little girl did that.

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Hi y'all! The name's Samantha. You can call me Sam if you like. I am a lover to a boy I met at Falls Creek in the summer of 2005, that is a student of Jesus, a Sooner born and Sooner bred and when I die I'll be Sooner dead, Democrat by party, blonde to the core, and oldies but goodies kind of girl.
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