Christopher sat beside me Wednesday night at our Young Women’s activity. The girls had invited their younger siblings to come, a follow-up opportunity from our Sunday lesson on strengthening family ties. Jess brought her 9 year old brother Chris. I chatted with him while he painted a little wooden box with his 18 year old sister. We talked about random things, nothing of much consequence really. Jess mentioned that they had been looking at the video their parents had made of Christopher’s early years (as if he were not still in them).
“I never realized,” Chris said as he smoothed BYU blue paint across the top of his box, “how wrinkly little babies are. And they have this long grey wrinkly tube coming out of their bellies.” He scrunched his face. “Ewww.”
“That’s your umbilical cord Bud. We all had them. That’s where our belly buttons are now.”
I was about to explain how blood and nutrients passed from mother to baby, but thought better of it, knowing there were other kids a the table and thinking maybe we should lighten the topic.
All those cords, connecting us to our mothers, and them to their mothers, and so on. Like stitches in a seam. As independent as we like to think ourselves, no one is completely of their own making. All we have to do is poke that little divot in our tummies to be reminded of that. We carry the blood of our mothers, who carry the blood of their mothers.
Is it plasma or some other sort of blood that makes cousins…cousins? As far as I know there is not proof that a certain aspect of a person’s blood makes for a certain character trait. It could be true, I’ve just never heard about it. Nonetheless, there are definite aspects of my personality that run right along the same railroad track as my cousins. Things we do, things we say, even mannerisms that mimic each other, even if we are from different generations and sometimes even if we never really knew each other.
Since our mom was the next to youngest in her large family, and I was the tail end of her passel of kids, we really only had one chunk of cousins that were anywhere near my age. In fact I don’t think I have one cousin my same age. We didn’t know the cousins on our dad’s side, except for Sandra and Nancy. And we never saw them at all after my elementary school years since Dad left for good. But those Miskin cousins there in that little brick house in Ucon, Idaho were treasures to me. Pure treasures. First of all my Aunt Becky was pretty much the kind of person I wanted to be. She was creative and witty and spiritual and hard working and fun. She didn’t over-fuss about things, but we all had our chores to do. It made me feel like I belonged when I got my chore assignments along with the cousins when we visited in the summers.