Cousins

I was born in Florida and lived there till I was 4. My parents moved up to Ohio because my dad's job as a rockstar wasn't as lucrative as he would have liked. They had just had another child, my brother Andy, and my dad thought it best that he move his family north and take work at the family business. I don't remember much about my time as a toddler in Florida but I sure do remember Florida. As I grew up in Ohio, I found myself visiting Florida sometimes up to three times a year. My grandparents were snowbirds and we would fly south every school vacation we had. These vacations were beyond memorable for me as both my brother and I found ourselves part of a whole other family.

My grandma's sisters both lived in Florida and by default, my brother and I got a whole heap of cousins. Every vacation we would find ourselves popping from house to house, swimming, eating, and playing with tons of awesome kids. I was lucky enough to have a cousin close in age, and from the time we were little, we were besties. Andrea and I would become inseparable on each trip making up clubs, pool hopping at my grandma's, and solving crimes in the old people condo complex. Sometimes my other cousin from up north would come down and we would form a trio. Kasie, Andrea, and I were the perfect combination of pre-pubescent teens on the hunt for cute boys but too shy to talk to them if they talked to us. Life was good.

Over the past couple of years my contact with Andrea has resumed. In my twenties we lost touch a bit, but with the help of Facebook we picked right up where we left off. Andrea, also a mom of 2 kids who have badass names, and I decided that we had to get the kids together. I told the boy and Biggie Smalls about their 'Florida' cousins and about how much fun I had as a kid hanging out with their mom. I told them of our adventures and the fun (and trouble) we, well really just I used to get into in the big FLA. They couldn't wait.

Layla and LouLou

Although we only spent a few days in Florida, the highlight of the trip for me was watching my kids play with Andrea's kids just the way we used to play when we were little. Food and family surrounded us and I was immediately brought back to a time when I had no worries, no bills, no responsibilities... All I had was my cousin, two Popsicles, and the Florida humidity sunshine .

Catcher & Hunter

It's so easy to forget the good memories of childhood. We focus on how our parents screwed us up, why we didn't get the grades we should have, why we dated one asshole or another. We simply forget. We forget the time we spent running around  searching for clues of who to find out stole my grandma's newspaper, we forget the time we snuck out to buy bagels just so we could stare at the cute boy behind the counter. We forget the way the water felt after we jumped into the fifth pool of the night. Those times are the life we all search for. That is life. Those moments are what life is all about and I am thrilled that my children will get to have the same experiences that I got to have with my cousin Andrea.