When I was younger I wanted four kids. Things didn’t turn out quite as I planned (not to mention I hadn’t yet experienced motherhood when I wanted four), and Greg and I are stopping at two. I’m a bit sad that Elliot and Amy won’t have more siblings, but what they do have is cousins. Both my parents are only children, so I don’t have any cousins or aunts and uncles. And while I loved (and still love) having two brothers and a sister, there are times when I’ve missed having an “extended” family.

Our kids have four cousins — three boys and one girl. One of my nephews is in his teens, but the other three range in age from two months to five years. Elliot has spent the most time with Hugh, my sister’s son, who is fifteen months older than Elliot. Over the last six months I have noticed a real relationship developing between them, even though they only see each other three or four times a year. Elliot takes a while to warm up to other kids, even kids he knows, but as soon as he and Hugh see each other, they connect. I’m not sure where this comes from — do they sense the connection between my sister and I? Or did we just get lucky and they are, at least for now, compatible?

Then this weekend we met up with my brother, sister-in-law and their two kids, Rosie and Oliver. Rosie and Elliot are nine days apart in age, and up until this past weekend they haven’t really interacted a whole lot. They see each other about once a year, and I think up until now they’ve just been too young to really play together. But this visit was totally different. They were running around the house, giggling with each other, having conversations and generally having a great time.

I am thoroughly loving this. Family is so important to me, and to see these cousins together is heartwarming. Not to mention the relationships I’m building with my niece and nephews. It’s like icing on the cake. And I look forward to seeing how the youngest cousins, Amy and Oliver, will fit into the mix.

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