My brother recently moved to California – less than three hours from our house – and we spent Saturday and Sunday visiting them. I didn’t live near cousins growing up, but I always loved getting together with them, and my kids had a wonderful time with these four cousins who they have only see two other times in their life. I am thrilled that we will be able to get together much more frequently now. Kids need cousins!
My brother and his wife are very different from me and Mike, and their kids are also very different. There is a shared family history that makes connecting easier, and I love seeing my kids learn and grow from interacting with cousins! Watching my four kids with my brother’s four kids reminded me a lot of visiting cousins myself as a child – so many fun memories! I love catching up with my brother, and I always learn a lot from my in-laws, too. Johnny is often frustrated by the fact that he is surrounded by girls, so he was pretty excited to spend time with my brother’s three sons (he also has one daughter).
All of the kids except for Anna, who was napping, worked together to build this! Extended families are a lot like this structure built by a bunch of cousins – complex, intriguing, and well worth the effort.
I am also a big believer in finding friends who can be adopted family when extended family is unavailable. We have had friends who have filled this role, and it has been wonderful for me and Mike, as well as for our kids! It is really nice to have someone in your life who is enough like you that you understand each other, but different too so that they push you to try new things!
Do your kids have cousins nearby? Did you play with cousins growing up? Do you have friends who act as adopted cousins?