It is because of these children, my creative juices have been flowing. Starting tomorrow night, Olivia, Noah, Sonta and Jean Marc arrive for cousin camp. Thursday morning Henry, Karolyn and Ellie will join us. Peter, Isaiah and Johanna will participate fully as well. Since it is new and planned a bit last-minute, Janneke, Anne, Andrew and Ryan are not able to come. But I am feeling like it may become a tradition.
Cousin Camp will require each child to bring their own pillow and blanket and sleeping will include claiming any open floor spot or couch cushions. There will be basic rules that include wiping up your own spills, loading your dirty dishes in the dishwasher, hanging up wet towels, claiming a corner where your clothes will be stored and keeping your corner in some kind of order and being sure that when you get something for yourself, you are also offering to serve at least one other person. And that person has to be someone different every time.
We will spend some time watching TV or movies, playing Wii and being outdoors. We will spend time playing, taking pictures, running, exercising, participating in a service project and all leaving our phones in a pile on the kitchen table. I am planning on many good moments, a few stressful moments and hopefully very few tears or moments of bickering.
I am keenly aware that when we all get together, there will be moments when someone feels like life isn’t fair, but I also love to be the aunt who says yes more than no and believes that staying at my house should be like a little vacation.
And so, with ten kids for a few nights this week, this may be the closest I have ever been to understanding how my Grandma felt when she raised 12 kids. I don’t believe she ever resorted to Pizza rolls or lucky charms!
And so I am thankful tonight to be the lucky Aunt who gets to love em and leave em. Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday night will be full of life, activity, chatter, hugs and laughter. And Sunday night will be wonderfully quiet. I am blessed and I am thankful.