They boys and I raced from sunny Florida to sunny(?) Michigan to enjoy some time with my aunts and cousins at the swimmy house. I will take advantage of any opportunity to sit by the lake, catch up with family, and play a few games of Shanghai.
But the real highlight has been watching the Monkeys interact with their older male cousins. Well, they aren’t really their cousins, they’re mine. I don’t have the energy to figure out what their relationship is to my kids, so we’ll just call it cousins.
My boys spent most of the afternoon attacking the older boys (who are actually now men, but to me they are all still boys) with AQUA ZOOKAS. For the uninitiated, these are giant syringes that shoot water about 30 feet and reload in the lake in about 3 seconds. You aren’t supposed to shoot them at people’s faces, but when you are floating in the lake, there isn’t much else to aim at. They were relentless…calling time out and then getting inches from poor Elliot or Matthew before opening up on them. I haven’t laughed so hard in years.
In the video, watch for J2 on the swimming platform. Hannah (in the water to the right) reloads the Zookas for him…you can see the handoff. I apologize for the poor video quality.
Right now they are all in their places around the dining room table, playing Monopoly. It is my kids, my cousins, and one of my cousin’s children. The littlest Monkey is in Hannah’s lap (I sense a little “cousin crush”), and the older boys are trying to hold their own.
I couldn’t help but think that Mabel (my paternal Grandmother), would be so happy to see us all together. She always worried that we wouldn’t get together after she was gone. But we love to get together. She is smiling where ever she is now.
When I was growing up, my Grandparents had a place over the dune from Lake Michigan. Summers we would descend and take the place over. All the cousins would spend hours turning blue in the waters of the big lake. Then we would share a meal cooked in the two ovens with loving care by my Grandmother. Grandpa would sneak food to the dog (“You’re not feeding the dog, are you Karl”), and we would sit at the kids table eating as many rolls as we dared.
Every other December, we would take part in the “100 mph Christmas”…an orgy of presents and food that even looking back on exhausts me.
Over the years Aunts and Uncles moved farther afield, but we always looked forward to the slivers of time we got to carve out together. And now, in a small way, I am passing that on to my Monkeys. And I couldn’t ask for anything better than for them to be as happy in their childhood as I was in mine.
They are having the time of their lives…constantly making sure that no one is leaving. They still have much to teach Matthew about Bakugan. And there needs to be at least one more Aqua Zooka battle…