It amazes me to look at my class this year and realize that once again the grandchild of one of my first cousins is sitting in front of me. Last year it seemed like just a pleasant coincidence that someone from our family ended up in the town where I teach. I was happy to get acquainted with the offspring of one of my childhood playmates and I look forward to following the progress of my little cousin. But this year it seems even more profound to find a young relative looking back at me. His grandfather and I spent many hours together playing and arguing. Like most boys he was annoying and his sister and I tried to get away from him and from my own brothers! But somehow we usually ended up playing together as a group…and often got into some sort of trouble. The stories of our antics could fill a book! I can still remember how angry my mom was when she found out he talked me into swinging from a rope tied to a tree and jumping into the pond. lol And I swear he was the one that opened the window and let the squirrel come inside!
I suppose teaching relatives doesn’t sound unusual to people who grew up in this small corner of the world. When I explained the relationship to the rest of my students one of them commented, “I have LOTS of cousins!” Yes, I do too, but the idea that after fifty-one moves I would end up living here, where my parents began their lives and where I once played with my cousins, that I could teach in a different town several miles away and STILL end up having relatives in my own classroom, is high on my list of things that are meant to be.