next best thing to cousins

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Watching these kids, who know each other so well, despite the 3,000 miles & 3 seasons apart, is a study in friendship.  I don't have lifelong friends, I have cousins.  It's moving to watch this other kind of family.  It's his dock or her dock.  They watch out for each other.  They care about the same things, like not being locked in their cabins with their younger siblings, playing Mastermind, making fairy houses & beating each other at tether ball in the woods.

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And now, my boys have some real cousins here.  See that sweet heart on the left?  Yes.  I'm the proud auntie of that guy.  Oh, if you could see him dance!!  He lives on this coast, so this summer is my first time to really play with him.  At last night's party he crawled into my lap (after he had been in everyone else's) & let me feed him salmon & rice.  Is there anything more gratifying than feeding a little riri?

 

He's the same age as Real, 1 1/2, so it was sweet to watch them trading dominoes back-&-forth, before they started "pretending" to hand them over, then pulling them back in a baby-version of "psyche!"  You'd think they would both burst out crying, but they thought is was hilarious.

 

Later I sat by the fire with Free & some of the babies.  He looked up & said, "Oh, is that my birthday cake?!!"  And the sweet girl above held out a tin of dominoes, then sang, oh-so-softly, "Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday to you!"  Then he blew out his candles.

 

Earlier that night we had arrived from a long boat ride to pick up The Phantom Tollbooth for True, & she met us on our dock.  As Free tied the ropes, she reached over & scratched his head to say hello.  No words, just a little love.  The language of three year-olds.

 

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This.  Oh, this is my new screensaver.  To remind me that they will indeed get into trouble.  Sometimes is will be with their little sibs / my babies.  And that it will be just the right amount of trouble.  That, if I stay out of the water, they will get themselves back out again.

 

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16+ kids.  9+ families.  All next door, one antique cabin after the next.  They will likely know each other their whole lives long.  Amazing.   I wonder where are they going?   

 

I'm loving this family right now, so close to my own.