An unofficial part of the Blogging A-Z Challenge.
I could have said “C is for coffee.”
But I didn’t have much to say, so I didn’t.
I almost said “C is for cousins.”
But I had too much to say about that, so I didn’t.
Flipping through photos of the past year, I did settle on something that combined them both, however.
Two favourite excursions of mine this year –
The carwash and the cutbanks.
Both of which did include coffee, but that’s pretty irrelevant.
They also included my cousin; I’ll call her Jessie.
I have to admit, I’m a pretty spoiled girl. I have a huge amount of cousins, and great relationships with the majority.
There is a one family, however, that has shared a good chunk of time with me in recent years. We’ve had a consistent baby-sitting system for quite some time: I babysit their kids on all the Fridays I can, and my aunt babysits me all the time between. My uncle keeps his eye out for me too.
And while I love each one of the kiddos in their care, I did have some good moments with Jessie this summer and fall.
The first was a car wash a random night when I was craving cheap coffee (McDonalds iced coffee summer special! $1 a drink!) and a little company.
And who best available for spur of the moment car washes and coffee than little cousins like Jessie?
“I love my little siblings.” A friend of mine once said. “They ALWAYS want to do what I want to do!”
This expresses my sentiment exactly. I love the willingess of kids. I catch myself feeling pressure to entertain, when I spend time with people sometimes, but these kids remind me that the pressure is totally one-sided. All they really want is to spend time!
Additionally, maybe it doesn’t take much to convince a 10-almost-11 year old to hang out, but in a busy and growing family, there’s something special about a little one-on-one time. I love the earnestness and lack of expectation in this girl’s heart. We don’t have to do anything exciting. She’s happy to just come along.
To be invited. Included. Remembered.
All it takes to make a memory is just to take a moment.
So we do.
We play around with the radio and I tell her random stories of my week. She gives me her perspective on the latest neighbour-kid gossip. I freak out and get excited about the carwash (I actually really do love them), and she humours me. My siblings and cousins all do that so well 🙂
My favourite video of the year is from this 10 year old’s perspective (now 11). It’s a no-make up, sweatpant-honest account of a simple drive home from the carwash. It’s shakily filmed, with raindrops on the windsheild and the radio on. I babble about nothingness. She captures her street from the passenger seat. We roll pass a bear trap and I tell her never to go in one. Then I catch her filming and we laugh. It was a good evening.
In the fall, I again sought an impromptu companion for a quick trip up the cutbanks one unexpectedly sunny day. The cutbanks are an iconic geographical feature of our city, defining at least two of our city edges in stark or majestic (depending on your opinion, and maybe the weather that day) presence. A popular activity for fitness or bucket-list types is to climb the steep sandy banks for a view of the city combined with a
n uncomfortable slog of a *ahem*
I, however, do not “take the stairs”. I like to cheat and take the road. It’s great! No sand in your shoes, way less time, and air-conditioned all the way. As much as I like the outdoors, I am also a fan of efficiency. Knowing your priorities and all that.
My priorities are not sandy shoes and a view of vertical dirt 14 inches from your face.
My priorities this day were sunshine, a little wind, a pretty view and pleasant company.
And I knew just who to call!
It was a really good day. We didn’t do much. I was feeling spoiled by gorgeously warm weather on a fall day unexpectedly, so we indulged in a donut and drinks(kid-friendly, Tim Hortons, non-caffeinated drinks) at the top of the cliffs.
The view was fairly pretty but this picture? That face there is resplendent.
While the sugar and view may have had something to do with our smiles, I think the radiance right there is built from 4 years of days like these.
The simple, ongoing, consistent days of dropping in and doing dishes, eating pancakes, and yes, finding the fun outings and activities. These are the moments that add up over time and build into a friendship, a childhood, and a family that’s bigger than yourself.
It’s Community. Creation. Care.
Carwashes and cutbanks.
And cousins, continuing to chronicle.