How to Win Friends…

…and Influence People (according to a nearly eight year-old).

We’ve just spent an amazing weekend with my cousin and her family.  When we arrived home on Monday evening, our eldest son, out of the blue, said, ‘Mummy, you’re really lucky to have Auntie K as a cousin.’  ‘Why do you say that, Sweetheart?’ I asked.  ‘Because she’s kind, friendly, thoughtful and funny’, he answered.

So there you have it, Ladies and Gentlemen.  Four essential attributes to win over a nearly eight year old.

He is, of course, completely right.  I AM lucky to have a blood relative who has the qualities I would value in a close friend.  What’s the saying?  ‘You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family’?  Well I would.  Choose my cousin, I mean.

Luckily for her, our outspoken son also warmly approves of her husband and two children, calling them ‘kind, helpful and a good laugh’ and ‘really cute and funny’ respectively.

I then asked him what else he’d enjoyed about the weekend.  He spoke enthusiastically of great company, lots of laughing, being outdoors, good food and drink and the novelty of being in a different place.  Oh, and playing with the train set.  That got a special mention.

Not ONE THING on his list was expensive, high-maintenance or difficult to attain.

Life can become very complicated as an adult.  You can get to the point where all you seem to hear is bad news.  You’re almost waiting for the phone-call, the message, the knock at the door.  You live in slight panic that all the fun family gatherings have passed, the 18ths, 21sts, weddings and Christenings and that the next time you see your family from across the country will be at a funeral.

This is compounded by the fact that the last couple of years have not been the easiest, plagued as they’ve been by ill-health, death and financial worries in ours and others’ families.

So, at my other cousin’s wedding last summer, my heavily pregnant cousin and I made a pact: this year we’d stop letting the exhaustion of having young children keep us apart.  We’d stop thinking about the long car journey with restless kids.  We’d stop letting life get in the way and start making a determined effort to see more of each other.

And when we did, it was like we’d never been apart; no awkwardness, no settling-in time, no standing on ceremony.

My husband and I have since discussed what made it such a great weekend.  And you know what?  Our reasons were almost identical to those our son had given.  Give or take the train set.

Once again, it took one of our children to put a situation into its no-nonsense nutshell.  We enjoyed it because it was uncomplicated.  Fun, relaxed and uncomplicated.  In other words, perfect. 🙂

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