I’ve been flying high from the Cousins Reunion all week–so many incredible memories were made last weekend! We all connected on a level that can only happen when you are family. I probably have a hundred stories to tell, but this is one that particularly delights me. Names, of course, have been changed to protect the innocent, although we’d have to look long and hard for one of those…
We spent the whole weekend in the lodge, talking, laughing, eating, going through tons of pictures and memorabilia. We’d all brought photos, so at any given time, you’d find a group of cousins poring over pictures, magnifying glasses at the ready, or reading old letters or perusing the copious notes taken by our genealogy experts, Karen and Carla. Meals were raucous affairs with more delicious food than we could ever possibly eat–but we gave it our best try.
On Saturday night, we lingered after the dancing, unwilling to say goodnight and separate. It was our last night together. Finally, we began drifting off to bed, upstairs, downstairs… and the house was dark and quiet…almost… Mags and I were in our bed on the lower level, chatting quietly about the events of the day when we heard a noise upstairs. We lay still and hushed–it sounded like someone was crying. But, as we listened more, we realized it wasn’t tears, it was laughter, coming from the top floor where the sisters, Karen, Carla, Penny, and Beth were sharing two bedrooms.
Mags give me a raised brow, “Pajama party?”
I nodded, wondering what on earth the four sisters could have found so hilarious. “Maybe…”
“Not without us!” Mags exclaimed. “Grab your pillow!”
So we crept up two flights of stairs in the dark, pillows tucked under our arms, trying very hard not to wake my sisters in the room under the stairs or the other two cousins, sleeping in the main floor master bedroom. Light shone from under the door of the room that Carla and Beth shared and when we knocked, Carla opened the door with a welcoming grin.
“You’re having a pajama party without us?” I said and plopped down on the bed with Mags right behind me. Karen, Beth, and Carla scooted around to make room for us. They’d been giggling about something that had happened earlier in the day, obviously rehashing the weekend just as Mags and I had been doing below-stairs. We all sat on the bed laughing and talking, when Beth suddenly said, “I’m going to go get Penny.” She was across the hall and hadn’t joined the festivities yet. Carla was reluctant to bother her, but Beth crossed the hall anyway and returned shortly with Penny in tow.
When Penny saw the group of cousins curled up on the big bed like so many contented cats, she had one word for us, “Cheesecake!” and she hurried down the stairs to get leftovers of the cheesecake Mags had made. Seriously, how can you not adore a woman whose first thought upon being dragged out of her bed at one a.m. is “cheesecake”?
As we sat together in wee hours of the morning, chatting, giggling, and devouring Mags’s remarkable cheesecake, I knew. I knew as surely as I’d ever known anything in my life–these beautiful ladies weren’t only my cousins, they were true kindred spirits.