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October 8, 2006 - Sunday
It's too bad that three out of four of these cousins (left to right; Harry, Ben, Sam, and Jeremy) happened to be looking the other way when I took this picture, because it's the only picture I took with all four in it. I guess that's an indication that they were running around a lot together and that's a good thing. When I took Harry and Jeremy to buy a birthday present for Ben a week and a half ago, both said they didn't remember who Ben was. It had been more than two years since they'd seen each other, so I suppose that's not too surprising. But when the finally did get together today in Vermont, it all came back pretty quickly and it was as if they'd been seeing each other all alone. Except now, they were two years older and all playing with sticks. Even Jeremy and Sam, little more than two when they last saw each other, seemed like old friends.

Of course, that could be the case with any combination of boys and sticks, especially boys and sticks that all knew about Star Wars. But I was still quite taken at how similar these cousins are turning out to be. Harry and Ben, within a year of each others age, are both stringy firstborns with similar facial expressions, similar six-year-old goofiness, and similar eloquent speech often shrouded in awkward hints of baby voice probably to emulate their little brothers. Jeremy and Sam, also close in age, are somewhat chubby little second-children, both of whom seem a little more comfortable in their own skin than their older brothers, neither of whom has become as articulate with their speech as their older brothers were at the same age, but both of whom have little difficulty expressing desires or leveraging their charm. I'm sure a lot of those features are shared by first and second children around the world, but I suspect there's plenty that's just because they share a set of grandparents and genes.

This picture of Harry and Ben running down a mountain is brings back a lot of memories. When I was Harry age I used to run down this very mountain path the same way (although I don't recall Ben's mother, my sister, doing it very often) all the time when we went there. I used to climb these rocks all the time, too. They're really not that high (I'm standing on the ground in front of them taking this picture), but as a kid they were just perfect for pretending I was doing real rock climbing.

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