Idaho will always be a symbol of my childhood. I went to my Grandpa's 80th birthday party in Idaho a couple weekends ago and it was fantastic. All of my Dad's siblings were there. They all haven't been together for years. I would estimate about ten years. So when I walked into my childhood home-away-from-home of my Grandma's house, I almost started to cry, because we were all together. Not all of my cousins were there, but several were. When we sang "Happy Birthday" to my Grandpa he got choked up and said "Thank you," as he held back the tears. This memory will stay with me forever.
I don't know what it is, but I feel this special bond with my cousins. We have all grown up, and apart in so many ways, but the common thread of our childhood still binds us together. When we were kids we did everything together. My family lived next door to my Grandparents and all my cousins lived within a half an hour of her house. So on a daily basis we would be outside playing together. We would climb trees, build forts, jump off the haystack, swing on rope swings, play in the chicken coop, try to break into a haunted house down the street, play in the drain ditch, push down the alph-alpha to make tunnels through the fields and so much more. We were like siblings because we spent so much time together.
Eventually the one family moved away to Oregon and then our family moved away to Utah when I was almost nine years old. It was hard to leave so many of my best friends behind when we moved. As time went on the distance in miles led to distance in our relationships, but there is still a connection that we have. We are cousins.