Endearing and Enduring (the rewards of seeing loved ones while traveling)

Down a narrow path edged with brambles and undergrowth, the three of them eventually span out in an opening and squat next to decaying logs and moist rocks. They turn over smooth slabs of sandstone to discover green beetles scurrying to hide from the light. Time passes unattended and soon the bell rings to return to the cabin for lunch. The cousins brush off their knees and head back to the family cabin.

Cousin Kathy and Tim Cole at the Titan Missile Museum near Tucson

Cousin Kathy and Tim Cole at the Titan Missile Museum near Tucson

No matter the distance of time or geography, cousins remain part of you forever.

In the corner of a second floor bedroom, two eight year old girls communicate their motherly instincts through their porcelain faced doll babies. They dress and undress them, feed them and put them to bed and talk to them about what good children they are. They do not think about, nor fathom the possibility, that soon they will put this important part of their lives in boxes, to be moved to an attic and forgotten.

Karen and grade school friend Carolyn Boyd Heriza in Oro Valley near Tucson

Karen and grade school friend Carolyn Boyd Heriza in Oro Valley near Tucson

Best friends in grade school move on to other schools, cities, and jobs but they will always be your “best” friend in those formative years when those relationships are first defined.

Two women sit at a family dinner table looking at pictures of grandchildren and remarking on resemblances to fathers or uncles who have died. These cousins share their worries for their adult children but, at the same time, realize how lucky they are to have so few concerns and for their ability to be here with each other.

Unwilling to let time and distance dim their connections, family will always be most important.  They are easily worth the effort of being together face to face.

Dave, cousin Judy Sterling and husband Mike Eisman at the Tucson Gem Show

Dave, cousin Judy Sterling and husband Mike Eisman at the Tucson Gem Show

Teachers sit in rows  before a faculty meeting. One who has been teaching for over 30 years is relieved to sit down and not have bus duty, one is microscopically looking at the tips of her hair and wondering if it is time for a trim, and the other is telling about an amusing incident with a student and a paint brush.  They have years of teaching to go before they catch up to the experienced one who is rubbing her feet. Very soon, they will have children of their own to care for giving their teaching a more complex perspective.

Liam Graycheck, son of art teacher Jennifer and husband Andy

Liam Graycheck, son of art teacher Jennifer and husband Andy

Keep the door open to new people who will refresh you as friends.

Landon Herndon, son of science teacher Noel and Chad Herndon

Landon Herndon, son of science teacher Noel and Chad Herndon