My son is blessed with something I never had growing up: A gaggle of cousins. He's got 11 in all. Five of them (all boys) are pretty much the same age.
Since Will is an only child, we try to make sure he gets together with his cousins as much as possible. And boy, when they do, it's a sea of smiles and a chorus of laughs. He loves each and every one of them ... and they love him right back. To me, cousins are the perfect blend of siblings and best friends.
Here's the thing about cousins: They're always excited to see you. They welcome you with open arms, they don't slam the bedroom door in your face yelling, "Mom, tell him to leave me alone!"
They don't borrow your clothes without asking, they willingly lend you something like it's a secret pact between friends. They don't tattle on you when you do something wrong, they're likely in on the mischief with you. They always have your back.
There is something incredibly special about cousins. I love seeing how my son and his cousins just fall into lock step with one another when they're together. For one of Will's school assignments, he had to bring in a picture that meant something special to him. You guessed it: He took in a picture of his cousins.
Julia Sims is the mom of one and a reporter for WRAL-TV.