As we drove along Pacific Coast Highway singing together to Taylor Swift’s new song and with the rollicking blue waves beside us, I thought about how grateful I am for my cousin Kd and how much I love her. A writer, a painter, a ballet dancer, a perceiver, Kd is in every nerve and atom an artist. She creates memories; she creates love. She so openly creates herself and searches for herself, the most refreshing kind of spirit. She is passionate and gentle, interested and interesting. I read her blog daily to uplift myself. Spending time with her in person? She breathes her life into everyone in her presence. She notices; she listens; she questions; she evolves. Lady, I swear you sparkle.

We are the first and last of our grandfather’s eight grandchildren. Between us: twelve years. That can be much as children but nothing as adults. She is my kindred spirit. To be in her presence is to remember the better parts of myself. Those who bring out the best in us are always to be treasured, yes?

Last year she gave me the gifts of many visits to my house as we worked on her first quilt together. Rather, I gave a few verbal instructions and she sewed her beautiful blanket all on her own while I relished the light of her company as she worked.

This morning we decided to meet at her house. She is transferring to a new college in a couple of weeks, and though we see each other semi-frequently, I wanted to celebrate her life with a “Tour of Kd” in the Carlsbad/Encinitas/Vista/Oceanside area. I thought it might be fun to go with her to some of her favorite places—and it was. I have found that we know a person most when we experience his or her normal, day-to-day routine. Intimacy is in the details. Show me your life.

With no particular plan, we decided to see where the day took us. How soul-refreshing to live a totally spontaneous day! We knew of a couple of places we hoped to go; aside from that, we knew we’d figure it out as we went along. In spontaneity, creativity begins.

The most amazing part of embracing adventure for the day? Well, as is so often the case when we just go with the flow and stop over-thinking, we found ourselves in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. We were wanted and needed for a good purpose this afternoon, and we could never have planned it so well. Serendipity.

We were not planning to see new Baby Chelsea (daughter of my cousin Beth) today, or her parents, since they are in the midst of a move to their new house (much of my family lives in the same area) today and tomorrow and are going back and forth between properties dealing with it all. We thought if something happened to work out, we’d be more than glad to see them of course, but really I supposed we might stay out of their hair.

It turned out, though, that Beth and Marsh (who own their own remodeling business) had an important hours-long meeting with a major client this afternoon. Beth’s mom, a principal, is back at work, and so Beth dropped Chelsea off with Uncle Brad at his work, his church Living Hope. Since he was at work, it turned out that Kd and I were both wished as extra helpers for babysitting Chelsea—and by the merest chance, we were both in the area—together!!!—and both eager to help. What were the chances? Life has a funny way of working sometimes…

We got to feed her and change her and play with her in the nursery for hours. When I sang to her, her whole expressive face lit up my heart. Is there anything like eye contact with a baby? And the scent of her hair… Kd and I gave her tummy time and we did little baby leg exercises with her. I propped her up with my legs and hands facing me and went through basic sounds: “ba ba ba ba ba,” “ca ca ca ca ca,” etc. Her little astute eyes were fixed on my lips. She smiled when I got to “ma ma ma ma ma” no doubt thinking of her mama.

What a lovely, heart-renewing sort of day! We got home late into the dinner hour, and the kiddos and I sang songs to the sun all the way home, making up extremely silly rhymes and giggling all back down the 15.

Adventure:

One of our stops: Swami’s Cafe. Kd has lunch here often, and she has written about the delicious acai bowl a few times. A Tour of Kd would only be complete with an acai bowl!

Kd signs her name on the door of Swami’s (a tradition).

Katie signed, too.

An acai bowl. One of the most delicious, healthy lunches I’ve enjoyed. It is thick, almost frozen acai over granola with pepitas and other yummies, topped with berries and bananas, shredded coconut, and bee pollen. Have you ever had bee pollen? It tastes like springtime on your tongue, as though you were tasting the scent of flowers on the warm wind. I have never had anything like it…I feel like I must, must return to Swami’s soon for another bowl. Or get my hands on bee pollen somehow…

Eric savored many bites of my acai bowl. I’ve had forms of acai that I have not liked much, but this was perfect. Very tasty.

I also tried kombucha for the first time today. Apparently people either love or hate it. I love it. Kd has many details in her world that fit my essence. Thank you for sharing these details with me, Kd.

Uncle Brad and Chelsea

Eric investigates Baby Chelsea while Kd takes the first part of the feeding. Later he asked me to sing a song to him that I had sung to Chelsea. He was so busy playing, I didn’t think he had noticed, but he did. He always does. He even wanted me to move his legs the way I moved hers. I asked him after I sang to him, “Was it strange to see Mommy with a different baby?” His response? “I know!!”

Feeding my newest cousin

I love these people so much.

Chelsea spent much time making eye contact with Kd. They are already so bonded forever.

Little one…

Eric and Katie had a grand time on these horses! There was also a playhouse. Truly, they played contentedly the whole time. If ever there was a good time to be content together, this afternoon was the time, because it allowed me to savor the babysitting and bonding with both of my cousins.

They love her.

So do I.

Until the next adventure, Kd!

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