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My husband is originally from a small town in Iowa. He comes from a huge family, including 2 brothers and a ton of cousins. This past weekend, we went home for a very brief visit. It’s always nice to visit for a variety of reasons, but this time it was especially great for Lyla.

She got to see and spend quality time with family who she hadn’t seen in over six months. Time flies, and six months may not seem that long at all to the rest of us but to put it in perspective from her point of view… six months is one third of her whole life!

For me, the coolest part of the visit was seeing Lyla interact with her cousins, in particular her cousin Korbin. Korbin is a cute, sweet, affectionate, rambunctious little boy, who at the ripe old age of two is older and (arguably) wiser than Lyla. Of course, he’d better watch out because she’s a quick study!

From the moment they saw each other, Korbin and Lyla became instant playmates. It was as though zero time had passed since the last time they were together. At first, she followed him around like a puppy, and they laughed and played together. Before long, he let her take the lead as he followed her. It was so sweet to watch them run and play together. They even developed their own language, one nobody else could possibly understand. Each quite obviously and quite easily understood the other, as they interacted and laughed back and forth while the rest of the family simply listened and watched on.

They blew bubbles, ran, laughed, sang and even made up silly little games together. Lyla would drop her juice bottle, and Korbin would race to pick it up. Each time, he’d laugh hysterically. She’d say, “thank you.” He’d smile and look so proud. Then, she’d run away and make him chase after her. He’d happily oblige. When they finally tired each other out, they both hopped up onto the couch together. Then, Lyla would gently poke Korbin in the tummy, giggle and start the process all over.

I am so happy that Lyla has so many wonderful people in her life who adore her. We are blessed with a beautiful family. And, our extended family of friends is just as wonderful.

I grew up happy in a relatively small family. Growing up, my brother was my best friend (still is) and my parents were my heroes (still are). I love each of them dearly, and I wouldn’t change a thing. But, there’s something to be said for big families.

I’m thrilled that my daughter has a big family. To have cousins is like having best friends from the start. A family of friends who will love her, laugh with her and protect her as she grows up and conquers the world. In addition to her cousin Korbin, she has three more boys who adore her. Her older cousins CJ, Isaiah and Julian are each equally amazing. Plus, she has the best uncles and aunts, second and third cousins, grandmas and grandpas and a whole family tree of truly wonderful people.

Family – it’s a beautiful thing.

We spend so much time and money trying to acquire more money and things that we hope will make our children happy, when it’s always been the simple things in life which bring about the most smiles.

My child is surrounded by love. That beats anything money can buy.

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