It was one of those trips that I had been anticipating almost all my life. The day my child would meet my sister’s child. The moment I could search the face of my daughter for signs of my sister and delight in seeing my daughter embraced by a woman I trust like no other. By her side, her own children, Jelsa’s cousins.
Cousins are odd creatures. You can have close cousins, far-away cousins, cousins 20 years older or 20 years younger. You can have too many cousins to count, or just 2 cousins like we did when we were growing up. Jelsa will only have Larson cousins – first cousins at least – since my husband is an only child. Adelaide will be a type of older sister, Cauvin a type of younger — by 3 months — brother. Jelsa’s childhood memories will no doubt include vacations and visits with these two kids.
The Jacksonville airport was never part of my childhood dream of the cousin intro, but it was indeed the site of this tender meeting. Sara and the kids accompanied by Mom – and Jelsa and I coming from A2, met at gate A4 — Adelaide squealing as she ran off the jetway to greet us; Sara lingered behind with the camcorder. And we were one step closer to introducing the entire clan to their great grandma in Palm Coast – the reason behind our visit to JAX.
To get to Grandma Great took another 3 hours. Can’t blame the car rental company – the mini-van was ready and the walk to the lot wasn’t long. Can’t blame the lady at the McDonald’s drive-thru window – we ordered our snack-wraps in such a chaotic fashion, I almost wanted to tip her. Can’t blame Cauvin – the youngest of the bunch at 3.5 months — he didn’t need to eat and slept most of the way (I think). Yes, it was mostly Jelsa and I that slowed down the pace with two stops to nurse on the way to Palm Coast. So it goes.
Each trip has its highlights. The day-in, day-out rhythm goes without saying when three kids 2 and under are involved — up, nap, eat, nap, up, etc.
Florida 2009 favorites include the following:
1.Grandma let us be messy. Yes, despite having an empty dresser to work with, I lived out of my suitcase parked on the far side of the living room. Toys were all over the sun room. Rarely was the dining table fully cleared.
2. The smell of FL and Grandma’s house in particular. It will always be one of those smells from my childhood that brings me comfort. Can’t describe it at all. Maybe salty because of the ocean? I know it when I smell it.
3. My mom aka Oma. She jumped when we said jump. She jumped from one kid to another. She jumped to pick up the toy. She jumped to get a diaper or a snack for Adelaide.
4. Picture-taking is so much more fun with kids. I don’t know why I even bothered taking pictures, let alone putting Creative Memories albums together before Jelsa. That is overstating it a bit (if not down right unhealthy)….but In some ways, life feels fully under way now. I must have snapped 400-500 pictures with the Nikon D40, reviewing practically ever picture after taking it. We tried to do a photo shoot on the last day with Sara, me and the three kids. SO did not work out well. A few cute shots, but overall, the kids were just not buying it.
5. Why are Wal-Marts so much more exciting when I’m on vacation? Does anyone else feel this way? I love running errands on vacations. Sara and I got “lost” when leaving WM…just couldn’t figure out those Palm Coast parkways. Took us 20 minutes to get home as opposed to 10.
6. There was no question our trip to the beach would be a little crazy with the babes, but it got a little crazier when lightening was spotted and we had to sit in the van for 20-30 minutes or so and wait for the storm clouds to pass. Grandma had made it down to the sand with our blankets and had to return when the lifeguards issued their verdict on the weather. I forget how we passed the time. It wasn’t fun, though, I remember that. We eventually got down to the sand and the water. It was overcast, so some photos turned out well (see #4). Adelaide ran and jumped around in the water. Jelsa hung out in a little kiddy pool under the pier. And Cauvin slept on a blanket.
I think those are the highlights for now. Funny how highlights change depending on the day and time.