Cousin time!

Before I was a mom, I was an aunt.  My brother and his wife had a beautiful baby girl in August 2007.  I remember going to the hospital to meet her and feeling my heart somehow nearly beat out of my chest and swell five sizes.  I never imagined I could fall so immediately and deeply in love, but I was smitten.  I knew then that I’d do anything for her.

Less than two years later, my sister-in-law and I got pregnant within a couple of months of one another.  She, however, was carrying triplets.  When the boys were born in July 2009, I cried visiting each of them in the NICU.  They were all healthy for preemie newborns.  And I was again smitten.  I knew I’d do anything for them.

When I had my own child three months later, somehow my heart just kept on growing.  I was smitten with my own child as well.  Throughout these last two years of having her, I’ve learned that I have enough room in my heart for all these little ones.  I would still do anything for my niece and nephews just like I would for my own child.  I’ve had fun watching them grow together.

I remember when Lexiana was no more than a couple of weeks old and my brother and sister-in-law came up to visit us.  My niece, who had just turned 2, seemed so grown up to us then with all of the tiny babies.  She kissed my kiddo sweetly.  Now I look at those photos and marvel at how tiny my niece was.  She was still just a baby, too.

And I remember my first trip to my brother’s house with my kiddo.  The babies weren’t mobile, yet.  My niece definitely was.  It was fun to see them all together.  I have a sweet photo of the babies lying on a blanket together showing my daughter holding hands with one of her cousins.  I have a funny photo of the two girls sitting in the chair with my niece tugging on my daughter’s cloth headband.

I remember last Christmas when chaos was setting in as all the little ones were mobile and all over the place.  It was crazy, hectic and fun.  Lexiana could get a bit overwhelmed sometimes, but she loved it.

My kiddo paying attention as my niece showed her how to play Candy Land.

Then there was this past weekend.  My brother’s family stayed with my parents.  They only live 70 miles away, so you’d think we would see each other more, but 70 miles is a long way when you’re traveling it with little ones and coordinating everyone’s schedule.  Good grief, I have that issue and I only have one.  I know the challenges are even greater for my brother’s brood.  But, oh my goodness!  Lexiana loves her cousins so much.  And they love her.  The boys are very fascinated by her.  They call her “Ana.”  They want her to come play with them.  When she was crying, two of them came to check on her and wouldn’t move on to something else until she had settled down and they knew she was OK.  My niece enjoyed showing her how to play things like Candy Land, though I’m not sure it was by-the-book rules.  I just know it was 100 percent cuteness!

And when we left them yesterday morning knowing that they were headed back home, my heart swelled and the cousins hugged and blew kisses to one another.  It swelled even more when just a bit later at nap time, Lexiana thanked Jesus for her cousins and for their dog, Hank.

It was a good weekend.  It was a very fun weekend.  We lined up for pretend fire drills, the kids played chase in the yard, they shared food, they compared shoes (well, the girls did!) and they just had a great time.  Was it chaotic?  Yeah, but that’s what happens with four 2-year-olds and one 4-year-old.  Was it fun?  Heck, yeah.  Was it sweet?  Most definitely.

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