I recently got back from a three week vacation in Utah. It was just what I wanted and needed, for a change in my routine. That is, except for a slight hiccup that happened in the middle, which surprisingly made my vacation better after the situation resolved itself. Before the resolution, however, I felt mildly panicked and lost. I still feel slightly discombobulated after living out of two suitcases for three weeks in five different places, with two of my kids being swapped out for each other, so that each could go to a camp.
I attended a birthday party for my 18 year old son, a Veggie Gals reunion, two family reunions, one for my husband’s side of the family tree, one for mine at a cabin in the mountains, and then my 30 year high school reunion. In between the two family reunions, I chicken-and-dog-sat for a friend, with my two youngest kids, while she took her family to Nauvoo.
The high school reunion seemed unreal! So many beards and gray hair (for the guys, the girls didn’t look much older, surprisingly, probably because we are more vain and color our hair, lol!). Has it really been 30 years?! Amazing!!!! In a way, that part of my life seems like it never happened. It feels like a dream, in a sense that so much about high school does not matter to real life.
That class reunion was fun, but the family reunions were better. It is always delightful to be around cousins! So to celebrate that, here are a bunch of pictures of my kids (and my grandbaby) and their cousins. Staying at a log cabin in the mountains completely refreshed me!
Before this summer vacation, I thought I had found the best definition of what a cousin is from the book, Gone Away Lake, by Elizabeth Enright:
“If cousins are the right kind, they’re best of all: kinder than sisters and brothers, and closer than friends.”
Just this week, however, I found the best definition, by studying the word “cousin” in Hebrew. After I returned home from Utah, I discovered the mention of an extended family member in Acts 23, as part of my Come, Follow Me Study.
In this chapter of Acts, we see Peter in prison. The son of his mother’s sister intervenes. He comes to Paul in the “castle” and tells Paul of a conspiracy against him. So Paul’s nephew intervened to help save his life.
The New Testament was not originally written in Hebrew, so I have heard, but I love to see how words translate into Hebrew whenever I study any book of scripture. When I read about Paul’s nephew helping him, I somehow thought of the word “cousin” instead of “nephew.” Probably because I had just seen my kids immersed in the world of their cousins at the cabin in Utah just the week before. I wasn’t thinking of these kids as nieces and nephews, even though they are, but as my children’s cousins. Reading about Paul’s nephew triggered the fresh memory of cousins. So in my scripture study time last week, I looked up the word for cousin in Hebrew. Hebrew has no generic word for “cousin.” It does, however, have words for “son of uncle” and “daughter of aunt.”
The Hebrew word for a male cousin, a son of an uncle, is “ben dod.” I won’t take the time to show each of the characters of the ancient Hebrew pictograms, but when I combine all the meanings of the pictograms together, I interpret the word to mean, “The heir/seed of the home who works to enter the home.” Entering a door into a home shows humility.
The word for a a female cousin, the daughter of an aunt, is “bat doda.” That means, when translated back to the ancient pictograms,”The home of the covenant/sign to work to enter the home.” Again, entrance into a home shows humility.
I love how the word for a boy cousin involves the word “heir” and the word for a girl cousin involves “sign/covenant.” Both words involve home, work, and entrance/door to home (humility).
Cousins are to work on and help each other to make covenants and be heirs of the Father, to enter His house, in humility.
For the reunion, I made plans to take the cousins to go to the Manti Temple for a youth baptism session. That temple is so dear to my family. My parents got married there over 50 years ago, my paternal grandparents did as well, and then I did too, as well as each of my four siblings.
At first, it looked like only my returned missionary sons would be coming, but in the end, as one girl cousin saw that another girl cousin was coming, she decided to come, and got ready in 15 minutes, and then another got ready, as some of us waited in the car. So I ended up with my younger daughter, three of of her girl cousins, and my two sons for a wonderful trip. At first they were quiet in the car, but the more we drove, the more relaxed and louder they got, especially on the drive home. Cousins are great for that! I’ve been blessed to have great cousins and I’m glad my children have been too. I’m grateful we had that week in July recently in the mountains to forge those friendships stronger.