Once upon a time there was a very solemn little pirate. But happily she wasn’t too solemn for very long.
My lovely aunt celebrated a milestone birthday (which frankly I refuse to believe she has reached!) with what looks to have been the most amazing pirate party and so when those of us that couldn’t quite manage a night of swashbuckling gathered for lunch the next day, the assembled great nephews and nieces were not in any way shape or form short on props.
The six of us cousins have all had our babies fairly close together; eight of the ten having made an appearance in the four years between Kitty and her youngest second cousin who arrived a couple of months after Pip, so even when some of our number are missing, there are still a good clutch of little ones running around.
It’s so funny watching that initial cautious wariness between little girls who know that they know each other, know that they like each other, and have been excitedly telling everyone in earshot all day that they’re going to see each other, and then become suddenly so very shy when actually presented with the reality of their friend.
Of course give them an hour or two and they’re completely inseparable, running around the farm, hiding behind the sofa deeply immersed in some game that is unfathomable to the rest of us.
It’s so very familiar from my own childhood too; it seems to play out to a well rehearsed formula from the bustle of arriving, the hugs and excited greetings, especially for Pip who was meeting a little more of his extended family for the very first time, to catching up and sharing the family news over the most delicious roast lunch, a little stint outside in the fresh air, and then as the light faded, retreating back indoors to sit in the warm comfortable glow of the lamplight and just enjoy being together as the pirate piñata met its end at the point of the poker and the jelly babies that spilled out disappeared into the cousins.
The pirate hat was passed from cousin to cousin, each one possibly cuter than the last (Elma says “Aaaarr!”), though we stopped just short of waking Pip up to see what a pirate baby would look like; epic sword fights were enacted; and in between the pirates pooled resources of stickers and colourings in to keep little hands occupied.
The family itself may ebb and flow; but there is something so very lovely and that leaves me feeling so very loved in watching my own little ones fit into a rhythm of family that has been a constant since the days when I was smaller than Kitty.