The past few days, we have spent time with my husband’s family, including Avery’s three boy cousins visiting from St. Louis for their Spring Break. Highlights included T-Rex Cafe, Great Wolf Lodge, Jack Stack, the Plaza,  and a brief stop at Fritz’s train restaurant at Crown Center. We made our presence known in the Club Room at the Sheraton Suites on the Plaza. Avery cried until her cousin Jack, embarrassed by the scene she was making, shoved one of his cheese cubes directly into her open mouth, to which she immediately smiled and replied, “Thank you!” Collectively we ate about 10 free cookies and my husband’s brother had the bartender fill up two Starbucks cups full of wine to take back to their room. The Kuhlman men (Kuhlmen?) are known to be quite frugal and love a good Pinot Noir! When we got back to the hotel room to say our goodbyes, Max (the baby boy) promptly removed his pants and I got an adorable video of him jumping on the bed yelling “Spring Break!” in his diaper. They are leaving to go home tomorrow and the time has flown by way too quickly.

I know that they are too little to remember most of these happy times now, especially Avery who is the youngest, so I take lots of  (blurry) pictures. Cousins will always be connected to you no matter what acquaintances may come and go. When I was 18, we lost my 20 year old cousin Joe in a car accident. I looked up to him so much and having him suddenly ripped away from us put me in a very dark place of loss that took me a long time to move past. Tragically, we lost his younger brother Jacob to a fast-growing cancer at the end of last year. It was a complete shock and I don’t know that I have fully processed it yet. 

When I see my daughter surrounded by these lively boys who are simultaneously annoying her, protecting her, hugging her, and taking her stuff, my heart aches with love and pain because I know the precious value of cousins. 

My daughter will never know what it’s like to have a big brother to look out for her, but at least she has her Jack, Charlie, and Max to substitute.

Fritz’s Shawnee Mission (Christmas 2012)

 Fritz’s at Crown Center


Jack Stack

Great Wolf Lodge


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