When Dylan was five, he had a cowboy themed bedroom. He is now 25, and his tastes have changed. He's not interested in being a cowboy, having discovered the joys of programmable logic controls. We were not quite sure what to do with his bedroom set. However, luckily for us, there is a new generation of kids, and my nephew's son Danny is just about to make the switch from crib to 'big boy bed.' The timing was perfect, and they were glad to have it.
My niece called to make arrangements to pick the bedroom set up. I was in the middle of making pepperoni rolls, so I invited them for supper. Sarah sounded kind of doubtful, but I assured her that it was fine. I couldn't understand her hesitation. The last few times that we had gotten together, I'd taught Abby to fling her arms wide and bellow fortissimo: "It's the ciiiiiiiiiiiiiiirclethe circle of liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife!" I'm introducing the children to culture, ala Disney. I began to wonder if Jim and Sarah had some aversion to culture.
In any case, it wasn't long before their big truck was pulling in the driveway. Jim and Sarah unleashed the forces of Abby and Danny, and it began. There was screaming and running, active children plenty excited to see their auntie, their auntie plenty excited to see them.
My latest find was two net bags of soft balls, the sort that you find it a play pit. It wasn't long and balls were everywhere. We'd gotten the idea to stand at the top of the stairwell and unleash them all at once, so that there was a primary colored water fall bouncing and clattering their way down the stairwell. Abby and Danny stood there transfixed with wide eyes as one hundred balls came towards them, over them, all around them.
We had pepperoni rolls for supper. Abby called for grace, and it was a long one because she personally knew of many, many people who needed praying for, and furthermore, there was a lost dog, but eventually grace was concluded, and supper commenced. It was a loud and boisterous meal. Abby loved dipping her pepperoni rolls in spaghetti sauce and regaled us with a special dipping song that she'd created for the occasion. Danny had spaghetti sauce from ear to ear.
We sang songs and we laughed. We found treasures. Abby was fascinated by the buck head on the wall, and she petted it. It was lively and fun, and at one point, Jim looked over wearily and said, "Are you sorry we're all here yet?" and I said, "No." I wasn't either.
When they were gone, the house once again subsided into quiet. I did the washing up, and the sweeping up. I smiled to see that a blue ball had been missed, and it lay patiently waiting under the sideboard in the foyer. I left it there. It was a nice touch. Shadowfax played quietly from the livingroom.
There is a new generation of cousins now: Verbally precocious Rachel, busy and helpful Abby, little Danny who does not have enough butt to hold his pants up. There's Justin and Konnor and Dalton who are active and loud boys. There's little Lincoln who fits perfectly into the crook of an arm, and can sleep through virtually anything (luckily). Amaya isn't a kid anymore. She is a competitive cheerleader. This cast of characters will play a big part in the childhood memories of my grandson, William. They are the faces that will come to his mind when he talks about his cousins. It makes me smile to think of it.
My house used to be loud and full of activity and kids. Those kids are grown now, and I miss them. Thank goodness for all those grandnieces and grandnephews, and that little grandson of mine. They fill that gap in my life quite nicely.
I have the perfect house for entertaining the cousins: it has a playroom for them on the third floor, and lots of nooks and crannies to play hide and seek in. I have all these plans, and after all these years, it is neat that once again, they revolve around kidlets. Once again, I am shopping for toys, and for little clothes, and enjoying myself. Once again, there is artwork for my refrigerator, and a kid's voice on my answering machine.
It's so great.
Where's my Abby-gail? I know she'll sing it with me: "It's the ciiiiiiiiiiiiiiirclethe circle of liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife!"