June 6, 2016: The Power of Nine
|Airport selfie by the fab four aunt/niece/cousin combo|
Kathy is always easy for me to explain. Most of my friends just see her as my friend. Which she is and is evident by our frequent excursions and togetherness over the years. I was fortunate enough to have Kathy live in Omaha again for a few years recently. My son, Ben, described Kathy as my 'go-to friend'.
After asking Ben to join me for a play (I had an extra ticket that was going to go unused), he politely declined and then made a keen observation.
"I bet you miss Aunt Kathy. She was your go-to friend for extra tickets and random events, wasn't she?"
Yes, Ben, I do miss my go-to friend.
Kathy now lives in Boise. Although our random adventure are fewer, we make up for it with our many smiles and laughs when we do get together.
To those who don't know my Aunt Kathy, I introduce her as my friend. But then I add that she is also my aunt.
"My mom is the oldest of nine and Kathy is the youngest."
This explanation is easily accepted, as the person I am introducing has already quickly moved on to Kathy and her warm and welcoming personality. She has never met a stranger.
Kathy's daughter, Angelina, has always been like a daughter to me. Growing up in Remsen, she would stay with me over summers to both spend time and to nanny my toddler boys. She and her brothers were an extension of my own little family. As she grew older, we began running half marathons together across the country. It was as much an excuse to meet and catch up as it was to run.
Now our little Angelina is all grown up and living in Richland, Washington.
Angela, the fourth of our foursome, is my cousin and daughter to the middle Pick daughter, Connie. She lives in Sioux City, Iowa.
Over our backyard fire pit in Denver, I began reminiscing how much I loved Baby Angela as a young girl. She was my first 'baby' experience and the next Pick granddaughter born after me. I was thrilled when she was born. A tiny little peanut who let me hold her on my hip and carry her around my grandparents' house as though she was my own.
I was nine years old when Angela was born.
As I gushed over this fact, Kathy made a similar comment.
"Sandy, I think I was about that same age when you were born. You were the first granddaughter. And I loved you like my own baby doll. I am pretty sure I was nine years old then too."
We began doing the math on the span of age difference between the rest of us.
Nine years. Each of us were exactly nine years apart and we each had the same gushing little girl experience in loving and bonding with the next newest little pink bundle of joy in the family. Angela quickly commented on Angelina being her little baby to hold when she was nine.
Many have asked me how it became the four of us in Denver on this visit. I really didn't have an answer, other than it just being a random trip. But it was intentional and now it makes much more sense. The bond was always there between each of us, but never described other than the fact that we were family.
There is a power in nine. A very impressionable age to have a little being to love as your own. And the family farm was a perfect place to do just that. That special bond then carries forward to the parents who felt the love of their child with their mini-caretaker. Kathy to Angela. Sandy to Angelina.
Although being part of a family is a given, relationships are nurtured. I am hopeful that our own kids and younger cousins will continue paying it forward with the next generations.