Sunday, October 28, 2012

Family Matters: How It's Not Nice to Prank Your Kids

October 28, 2012

My immediate family is small. I’m an only child in a generation of only children. I have many cousins, but no siblings. Not the case with my beloved. He’s the oldest of five, having two sisters and two brothers. He has two children and six grandchildren, and ten nieces and nephews. His family has a blowout reunion every year. We have quiet little affairs we call get-togethers. It’s all good, though.

A few years back, his oldest grandson completed the Royal Rangers program through church (it reminds me of trying to reinvent the Boy Scouts). Being invited to the award ceremony, we cheerfully went, pleased to be included in this milestone of the youngster's life.

I knew one of my cousins was involved in some program for the boys of his church, but he never shared the minute details. He enjoyed being a leader in the program - great! It made him happy and that’s all I really needed to know. Besides, it was a guy thing, and I do girl things. Usually…

The day of the ceremony my beloved and I walked inside the hall and there stood my cousin in his leader’s uniform. There stood my stepdaughter, waiting for her dad. While her father greeted her, my cousin greeted me with a big hug, then he kept his arm around me.

My stepdaughter’s lovely brown eyes grew to the size of saucers. She looked at me - at my cousin - at my cousin’s wife - at her father. Clueless. Totally clueless. My cousin looked at her and informed her I was his very first girlfriend. I nodded. (I was probably three at the time, and he was six.) To add to her confusion, my cousin’s wife was smiling instead of ripping my head off for snuggling up to her husband. My poor stepdaughter didn’t know what to say when we launched into the “do you remember the time…..?”

Her father finally took pity on her and confessed all. She looked so relieved I almost felt sorry for putting the joke on her. (Note I say ‘almost.’)  We shared the laughter and our family added a joyous new layer to our relationships. 

Today we celebrate the same rite of passage for the third grandson. I’ll greet my stepdaughter and ask her if she’s seen my ‘boyfriend’ anywhere, and we’ll laugh again. I can’t think of a better way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. 


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