Monday, March 11, 2013

The Little Things

Life on the weekends, for the past several months, has included a lot of time with two of my teenage cousins. Though random weeks may occasionally include lunch with one cousin or coffee with another, weekends have become our time to relax and catch up on recent happenings.Our much cherished "cousin time."

Lately, there have been a lot of sleepovers. Redboxing movies we almost always fall asleep watching, only to re-watch them the next morning. They drink Mountain Dew. We pass around a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips, or southern barbeque, if we're in that kind of mood. We talk about big things. And little things. And a lot of things that don't matter. There's usually nail polish and always, always lots of laughter. Sometimes pizza or Chinese take-out. And handstands against the wall (them, not me).

We take turns dying each others hair and they threaten to post awkward baby pictures of each other on Instagram. They've learned cold, left-over Chinese food is perfectly acceptable brunch food on Sunday mornings and that its best if eaten right out of the container. I take them to illegally pierce their ears (did you know you have to be 18 for that now?) and they think they are bad asses for it.  We drink coffee with cinnamon and french vanilla creamer. We talk about how we are going to carry on these sleepover traditions when the oldest teenage cousin goes to college in the fall.

On a 20 degree day, just a few weeks ago, we decided to make a pilgrimage to our favorite ice cream shop. Because, clearly, ice cream is best if eaten during the dead of winter and when one is already half frozen from a quick trip to the outlet mall (that is outside, on top of a very windy hill). We use the trip to the outlet  mall as an excuse to go get ice cream. Not that we needed an excuse, but it helped justify the trip. We decided on a whim to help the nearly 18 year old find a white dress for her upcoming high school graduation. The clerk helped us find the one perfect dress and back to the dressing room we all went.

Upon emerging from the dressing room, sheathed in the dress (a big change from the dressy sweatpants she usually favors) the older cousin asked our thoughts and our16 year old cousin, had a moment. "I can't believe you've gotten so grown up and that you're graduating," she exclaimed, looking a little teary. It was as if she was completely unaware of how grown up she's gotten herself. For me, present at the hospital for both of their births, it was moment realizing how grown up they've both gotten in what feels like a relatively short period of time.

This past weekend, after an evening of watching roller derby, the warm spring-like weather was perfect for cruising (not to be confused with just plain old driving). The windows were down, the music was up. One yelled out the windows, just because she could, enjoying life, being in that moment. High from being young and on the cusp of everything. Our laughter mixing with the music before being caught by the wind and left behind us on the interstate. It was another moment realizing that these days are some of the best.

These are the sorts of little things that have been filling my life, but they aren't so little. They are the big things that are making memories. I know my cousins won't remember the specifics of these times, or maybe even how they felt, but I hope they always remember the togetherness, the seemingly big adventure of it all. And mostly, the laughter.

I know its important to them to have our "cousin time" just as its important to me. I know, too, that these weekends will become fewer as this year progresses and the oldest goes off to college, which is why the piles of clothes to be washed can wait. The room that needs cleaning out will eventually get cleaned out. And the to do list can be done another day. Right now, there are little things, that are really big things, that need to happen.

What are some little things (that are really big things) that have been filling your life lately?