What is it about cousins just being instant pals? It’s one of the marvels of the family unit in my opinion. I didn’t grow up with a lot of cousins, and most of them are way younger than me, but when we visited each other, my siblings and I were always so excited and so happy to have them around. It was like they were long lost best friends.
Demetri had the same dynamic. He has four cousins that lived near him in New York — all considerably older than he and Michael were — and then he had cousins closer to his age in Greece. He felt the same about them all. He loved the older boys so much and when they would visit Greece, Thodoris and Anna were their best pals. In fact, Anna took her first steps to Demetri at their house in Marathona.
Now that we’re all grown up, these cousins are our best friends here and with whom we most like to hang. But what I really love are the four kiddos: our two and Anna’s two. The dynamic is exactly the same as it was when Demetri was growing up: three boys and a girl, with the girl being the youngest. And this ‘instant pal’ phenomenon was evident even when Michael and Giorgos were 4 years old and I realized that it didn’t matter that they didn’t speak the same language. That trip, superheroes were the great cultural equalizer. They would play at the house in Marathon, calling to each other in English and Greek, and Big Katerina (Anna’s mom, another cousin Demetri adores) would translate. “We are on a mission!” “Let’s get the bad guys!”
The language barrier is getting noticeably smaller. I hear Michael and George speaking Greek to each other when they compare soccer tags. Peter, basically fluent at this point, runs around with Little Katerina calling and yelling to her. And then sometimes they switch playmates. George and Peter were riding scooters at the park together and talked to each other to coordinate what was next. It’s so cute. Living here has been awesome to connect the kids with their extended family — which was one of our hopes for our time in Greece.
This past weekend we spent all Saturday afternoon in the park with the 4 kids — Anna and me, that is, with special guest appearances by Katerina, Lampis and Thodoris. Sunday we met a new friend, Rafael, at Vouliagmeni Beach and Thodoris and Mina came and met us for Sunday lunch and coffee. Next week for Sunday lunch, Aunt Ernie will be here.
Mina took the photo above. I love their happy faces.