A little red tape player and MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This made the trip to Detroit fly by. I’m pretty sure we played the song 842 times as Tim attempted to rap Hammer, go Hammer, MC Hammer, yo Hammer And the rest can go and play. We turned the middle seats to face the back in the old yellow and brown striped van (because it was the 80s and legal) and Kimmy gave fashion advice to the 16-year-old boys such as “tie your shoes” because it was “out” to wear the big sneakers so unkept. My 9-year-old self made a mental note to not have a crush on a boy making such a fashion faux pas. We arrived at the hotel where we were staying before watching Sam’s Brother Cy and we all went for a swim. Brian tried to teach me how to go under the water without holding my nose. Grandpa Bill bought pizza. That night we filed into the stadium seats to watch the race. I can’t remember if he won or lost, but I distinctly recall how Rebecca held her race program on her lap and it caught a huge blob of bird poop.
This week my sister and I held our first ever Cousin Swap, exchanging H Boy for her 4 year old daughter. We’ve kept the girls busy playing dolls, riding bikes and making visits to the museum. The boys haven’t stopped playing ball or throwing swords since they arrived at my sister’s home. Chad is pretty sure they’ll go through a withdrawal. Though my sister and I live 3 hours apart, not a brief 20 minute ride from family like I grew up with, we’re still trying to make a priority of our kids’ Cousin Time. Sometimes, it’s a lot of work. But I cannot imagine my life without the relationships I have with these lifetime friends.
In another year, we’ll move from our Overfield friends to our elementary school friends. And then comes middle and high school where things are sure to change and evolve. Hopefully my kids each have a taste of the beautiful and lasting friendships that come with the college years I experienced, but people scatter with time. But to H-boy, Jack will be at every Christmas, Easter, summer at the lake, and winter trip to Great Wolf Lodge.
This will be the boy who loves my son, even when he’s a punk. Perhaps, like my cousins, they will wear a tux up front at each other’s wedding and – God forbid it happens anytime soon – march one behind the other, carrying a grandparent to their final resting place. These boys and girls will weave their way through life together, leaning on one another like siblings but with the refreshing enjoyment of friendship.
When life hits the rocks, or a marriage, these will be the ones showing up to testify in court. When new opportunity arises, they pick up the heavy boxes. When your first baby ends up at Children’s hospital, they become the first and the last visitors, making sure you have everything you need from a hug to a good probiotic.
Perhaps someday they’ll book flights to Vegas to celebrate as 3 of them turn 40 or several of them hit milestone anniversaries. They can congregate at the pool while a generous uncle buys drinks and simply enjoy being together. They’ll laugh and laugh (and then one of them will get “her laugh” going and make everyone smack their legs because oh, that laugh). Maybe they’ll even load up their children to head to the races for the weekend. They’ll jump in the swimming pool or sit alongside with a beverage in hand. They’ll hope to get their picture taken in the winner’s circle with a happy grandpa. And one of them will remember to tell the story about the time they were in the van on the way to the races with her cousins.