Monday, April 20, 2009

The Canadian Contingent

My cousin Emily and I were pen-pals for much of our childhood and early adolescence. She grew up in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, and I grew up in the more urban St. Louis. We only saw each other in person maybe 3 times our entire childhoods - once when we were about Eliot's age (my grandfather has 8 mm footage of the two of us at the St. Louis Zoo), once when we were about 8 or 9, and the last time when we were around 13. After that, we only had our letters, and the very rare phone call, as it cost about $2,000 to call Canada back then. Or some other outrageous amount, otherwise the two of us would have been on the phone all day and night, talking about the torture that was loving boys who didn't love us, the unfairness of braces, or how the Smiths were far superior to Guns N Roses. For the record, I was with Moz and the boys.

Sometime during high school, we both became self-obsessed as is the normal order of things and our letters eventually stopped. There were random phone calls here and there at Christmas and we'd hear reports through our parents or grandparents as to what the other was doing. It wasn't until we were bona fide adults that we reconnected; Emily and her husband Duncan and 4 month old baby, Dexter, came to St. Louis to celebrate our grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary.

And we picked up where we left off. We blamed our parents for keeping us apart when they so obviously should have been sending us to live with the other every summer. They were cruel and heartless and we would not allow an international border to keep us from seeing each other now that we were adults with money and passports.

We did well keeping up our promises for awhile. I was there at the beginning and end of her last pregnancy, and I found out I was pregnant with Eliot in her bathroom on Wolfe Island. She came and took care of all of us after Eliot was born, helping me with breastfeeding, and bouncing, and swaddling; baking us cookie bars and making pizza dough from scratch.

And then of course, life continued to happen, Emily started her PhD, we were (are?) all poorer than poor, and our visits had to take a break. Thankfully we had the email, Google Chat, and unlimited calling plans. We stayed in touch. We tried. Plane tickets were purchased and reservations were canceled due to house-mergencies and Lew's unexpected hospitalization.

But finally, finally! We were together again. We are now only an 8 hour drive away, as opposed to 15. Make that 20 with kids in tow. At least. So Emily very bravely decided to drive the three boys into town this weekend. It was crazy. And dirty. And chaotic. And so so so fun.

Dexter, age 7.

Neville, age nearly 5.

Lewis, age 2.75

Eliot, age 2.

The Round Up:
  • Pounds of food consumed: 173(mostly by Lew)
  • Rings of boy dirt in the tub: 4
  • Times Baby Dilbert faced an untimely demise: 372
  • Pizzas made from scratch: 2
  • Waffles made and eaten: 27
  • Vacuum cleaners fallen in love with: 1
  • Snow balls (cones) enjoyed: 7
  • More days I wish they could have stayed: at least 5


JJ said...

Sounds like you guys had a great time! Love the new photo of Eliot and his cape, glad he finally came around to it!

Emi said...

Awesome. That is you are awesome. I'm marginally horrified that the internet knows I was a fan of G&R. We will do this again. Once I become un-exhausted.

Kim said...

Sounds like you guys had so much fun! I'm happy you had a fun visit!

Emi said...

oh and great idea: so, I'll send all my boys down to your place this summer? sounds good. thanks! I love you.