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  I love visits from my cousin Martha and her family. It brings back childhood memories of summer and winter break visits. Her mother was a teacher (as were my aunts and mother) and we lived for school vacations when we could be together.

  Martha and I are the oldest of 10 cousins on my father’s side of the family. Between us we share memories of chaotic Christmas dinners at my aunt’s house, summer softball games on steamy Sunday afternoons, and evenings chasing fireflies on the front lawn.

  My brother’s family lives just a mile down the road from us and his three boys are constant companions of our twins, Russell and Grant. They are the next generation of cousins. One day last week my sister-in-law bemoaned the fact that she no longer has time to raise a vegetable garden. I looked across the yard at our sons. They were engrossed in building a ramp for their bikes. Hammers and nails were flying. 

  I gave up gardening when my children were toddlers and I realized I could either raise a garden or children, but not both. Vegetables come and go but children are only young once. Our boys could care less where they get their vitamins but they will long remember the summer days spent playing with their cousins. I guess you could call time spent with cousins nutrition for the soul.

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