I started the whole “cousin camp” thing three years ago with my Georgia girl cousins as a way to recreate a little of our childhood experiences for our own daughters. I wanted my girls to get to really know my cousins’ daughters. Summers were always fun for us when we were kids and the weeks we spent together were always my favorites. There were five of us girls, and ten years between Becky, the oldest and Stephanie, the youngest. But we all meshed well together. The older ones looked after the younger ones and we were always able to find something to do together, despite our age difference. Along with having my cousins together, another highlight is when we had our mom and aunts together at the same time, which was always a ball. I wanted my girls to get to experience their Grammy & their great aunts together, too. They’re all fun on their own, but put them together and it’s a barrel of monkeys. Ha. They get silly and sing and laugh and talk in funny voices and all have their own unique way of making things memorable and special. I wanted my girls to get to KNOW them and experience all of that, too. To hear them call hogs, or sing hymns, or to hear one yell, “PLATES!” and know that the others would chime in, “FORKS” and whoever was last would be “Ice in the glasses” because that’s how they’d decide who was doing what for dinner that evening, when they were kids.
My Mom & Aunt Kay have been the best about helping make cousin camp happen. I plan it and then they help me execute the plan. It’s been special times for us for sure.
This year, we extended the invitation to include the other girl cousins. Many of them had other summer plans and couldn’t come, but we did gain four more this year.
Some of the girls in our Uncle Jerry’s watermelon “graveyard”
Lest, anyone think it sounds like the perfect evening, let me keep it real and say that Tucker had the blowout of his life during dinner. The kind of blowout that left me throwing away his clothes and him wearing nothing but his bib out of restaurant. The ultimate mom-walk-of-shame.
We witnessed a big brawl, altercation, or fight, whatever you want to call it in the lot we were parked at and I had to even make a call to 9-1-1. Lots of stories to be shared and memories made. :)
We made it back to the hotel and settled in for a good nights sleep. The next morning, we checked out and headed back down to the historic district. Mom had done a scavenger hunt down there for a conference she went to in the Spring and we planned to do it with the girls. It was HOT and humid and the big girls had stayed up LATE, so everyone was a little grouchy and didn’t seem too interested in it, so we finished that up fast, got some snacks and headed out.
That evening, DW grilled burgers for dinner and we watched the slideshow of pictures from the week. When it was good and dark, we went outside to send up a few floating lanterns. I only had two and one had a hole in it so we had to tape it up. The lanterns are really thin and if they get holes in them, it’s almost impossible to get them to float. I was sure we’d get the good one up, but was worried about the taped one. When we lit them, the good one filled up fast and started to lift. I gave it a push and it looked like it was going to fly but then just fell to the ground and burned. The girls were so disappointed, they really wanted to see one in person. The other lantern still hadn’t filled up and when I looked at the side, I could see why- there was another bigger hole running all the way down the seam of it. It was really sweet when my mom said something along these lines, “Lord, help us get this thing to fly. Remind us that we’re just like this lantern- broken- but you can use us to be lights for you.” and I promise yall, we got the thing to FLY! It was precious. It was one of the sweetest moments of the entire week. I hope the girls always remember it. We ended the night sitting around the table with rootbeer floats telling memories of my grand (their great-grand) parents.
Coming back from the garden at the beginning of the week, we saw a gopher (which RARELY ever) happens anymore. My Granny loves gophers. Then at the beach we saw one there, too! It was precious and we all loved that a little bit of Granny was with us. I’m pretty sure she’d be glad her family is still getting together even though she isn’t here to be in the middle of it.