The Truth of the Matter

This may be dedicated to my reader who looks for the dark side – I feel like I’ve glimpsed it, only just. Holding that gaze won’t help, but on the other hand, to leave out that I’ve had pneumonia doesn’t seem quite appropriate, it’s been so much of life for weeks. Diagnosed a few days before a planned Alaska trip where Lady Baby and Sweet Baby were to meet, and having nearly a full course of antibiotics on board (and being not contagious), I assumed I could go and bounce right back. Not so.

The whole family descended on Downtown Abbey. Mrs. Hughes soon left for a Red House West blog conference in Oregon, and our younger son flew out for a five-day wilderness cabin construction and backpacking adventure.

Mr. Carson took care of the left behinds (he was specially sympathetic to me, having had serious pneumonia once in Tibet), managing the feline lords and canine ladies, and feeding the rest of us.

Really the point of this post is not the dark but the joy of watching the cousins together!

If it disappointed Lady Baby that her cousin couldn’t respond to various toys and plans she had for her, she hid it well, and soon did what Sweet Baby loved – patty cake, many gentle kisses, and nonsense talk. Tirelessly interested in and kind to her “baby cousin,” as she called her, she regaled her with stories of when she, too, was a “teeny, tiny baby.”

One afternoon, after he got home, I found our younger son on the couch with both girls, having amazingly shushed the Sweet Baby to sleep with the help of Lady Baby who nestled along side of them, silent but for shushes.

Like her parents, Sweet Baby appears to be a champion traveler – she slept on the airplane, coped with Alaska night daylight, and, peacefully sleeping in the front pack, attended barbeques. She gazed at her cousin in fascination – a small person full of funny faces and motion – better than any toy or book.

Lady Baby “got it” with puzzles this trip – the kind with pieces to be fitted together, not just dropped into slots. “I like to start with the corners Granna Katy.” We bought a few more at the great used clothing and toy store and did them all over and over.

As always we read books, including more “Tin Tin” than I thought I’d ever have to read again. (I remember telling her dad at five or six that he needed to learn to read, because I’d had it with “blistering barnacles” and other repetitive linguistic machinations.) The Tin Tin books completely engage certain children – politically incorrect and confusing though they are. I never quite get it, but have watched two besotted generations. (Lady Baby’s favorite T-shirt is her “Tin Tin in Istanbul” shirt, worn thin, nearly outgrown, but beloved.

So many things we didn’t quite do – no big hikes – but a small one where Lady Baby rode her bike, Sweet Baby rode in the Bob stroller, and we picnicked in Kincaid Park on a perfectly still and warm day.

I think about the cousins as beautiful young women friends, hopefully having had years of family adventures together, even though they live so far apart. And I’m grateful to have seen this first meeting.


12 thoughts on “The Truth of the Matter

  1. Oh Katy,    I loved hearing about the cousins bonding in special ways, but I’m so sorry about your pneumonia, especially as I know you cherish your family times. I can see those little girls as you described them….and in fact I can imagine the whole family together, the best! I hope you continue to heal !  Love, Jane

  2. This post is especially appealing for me, having grown up with cousins who still remain my best friends. You were brave to make the trip in spite of sickness, and you’ll always be glad you saw that first meeting. And I feel privileged to have seen the two cousins together. Sweet girls both. Hope the dark side gets quickly vanquished by light. Get better!

  3. My son’s cousins remain among their best friends — it’s been fun watching them grow up together — we used to have a summer cousin camp here.
    I do hope you are getting better.

  4. Yikes! Pneumonia! That sounds really hard, even if, as usual, you’ve given us a lovely portrait of family connections. Carolyn

  5. It took me months in my thirties ( back in the day when I was a runner/weight lifter even) to recover from pneumonia. Be patient and read more…I love your book posts. Your wonderful journal of your family are such a treasure for us and all of them. Not puzzling at all why you and they are so endearing…

    • Oh Susan such a kind message. I grow teary easily these days. Months! In your thirties. I’m sorry to read that, people’s pneumonia stories are vivid. I’ll be glad when mine is a memory. I have been reading and would like to write about some terrific books. Thank you for encouraging words. Xo

  6. Katy! I hope you are fully recovered from pneumonia. It doesn’t sound as if it kept you down. I love your wonderful tales of “ life with your two ladies. Love Babara

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