When we were younger I remember the road trips to Minnesota in the height of summer to visit family. I remember the mosquito's, the heat, the fun. I remember my cousin Julie.
She is the oldest of my "Bates" cousins, and twenty years older than me and yet the one I have always felt closest to. Maybe it's because she lived with our family, in Seattle, on a couple of different occasions in my youth and I remember thinking she was so cool, so hip, so awesome. She was the one who started my pig collection. She held a permanent place in my heart.
and yet I haven't seen her since 1992.
My mom kept in contact with her, so through the years we would get updates on what "minnesota julie" was up to, but it just never worked out for any of us to travel and visit.
Then a couple years ago, we reconnected through my blog and emails, and it was great for her to be able to see what we were up to and for me to hear about her life.
When my mom died, Julie was one of the first people I talked to. She and my mom were close, and I knew how much my mom loved her.
Since my mom's passing Julie has kept in touch with us, making sure we were okay. Giving positive reinforcement, encouragement, and love...just like my mom would have.
I love my cousin Julie.
When I knew that all my siblings would be in one spot I knew it would be a perfect opportunity to get Julie out here for a long overdue visit and to see us in person,
We had such a glorious time! I have to admit, I was a little afraid that I had built her up in my head. After all, I hadn't really hung out with her since I was 16 years old and maybe she seemed so cool to me back then cause she was older.
but she was everything I remembered!
She was easy going, fun, funny, hip, and knowledgeable about pop culture.
We spent the few days together
swimming, eating, laughing,
and even played an amazing round of "celebrity" (have Jared do his "bruce jenner" sometime for ya) and just reconnected.
It was such a fun visit, and I can't wait to see her again.