For over four years, almost five, Aunt Abby has cuddled, snuggled, teased, tickled, and entertained a lively bundle of cousins. From Jules the oldest to Jude the youngest, she has treasured each and every nose, pair of eyes, wild hair, opinions, stories, little gifts of flowers, rocks, drawings, and especially hugs.
“Come look Aunt Abby!” Jules said grabbing Aunt Abby’s hand. Ellie ran up and grabbed her other hand and the two girls dragged her into the living room.
“What? What?” Aunt Abby said.
“Why are they pulling her?” Bruce said bounding up from his cars to follow the girls. Joshua, not to be out done or left behind, scrambled after him.
“Where are you going, Julie-bear?” Constance said hurrying after them.
“LOOK!” Jules said.
The five older cousins crowded around Aunt Abby’s knees and looked where Jules pointed.
Imogene, her red hair blazing, crawled. She crawled across the floor. And she didn’t just crawl, she crawled quickly.
“She’s crawling,” Jules said.
“Immy’s crawling,” Ellie echoed her.
Constance got down right in front of Imogene and smiled at her. Unsure what the big deal was, Joshua and Bruce decided now was a good time to show Jude their cars, trucks, planes, and trains. Jude grinned and grinned at his brother and cousin quiet impressed with their show and tell.
Imogene crawled past Constance and made her way to Aunt Abby. She grabbed her jeans and pulled up onto her tip-toes.
“She’s standing!” Jules yelled.
Imogene looked at her three girl cousins and smiled her big full smile. Her blue eyes shone.
“I think she’s pretty happy to be with y’all,” Aunt Abby said.
“What about Jude?” Bruce said.
“Well, Mr. Bruce,” Aunt Abby said scooping Imogene up and spinning her in a circle while the girls cheered. “I think Jude’s gonna be walking real soon, and I think he might be taller than all of you.”
“Even me?” Jules said.
“Not me,” Joshua said.
“I don’t know Joshua, Bruce is taller than you.”
“He’s older,” Constance said.
“I’m the oldest,” said Jules.
“Yes, but just cause you’re the oldest doesn’t mean you’re the tallest. Look at Great-Gran,” Aunt Abby said.
All the cousins turned to Great-Gran.
“I think we should give her a hug,” Aunt Abby whispered.
“I like hugs,” Bruce and Jules said at the same time.
The cousins all laughed and ran to the doors to ask if they wanted to build a snowman.
“There’s no snow,” Aunt Abby said, “but Great-Gran’s still waiting for her hug.”
Everyone ran back into the living room to give Great-Gran a hug. Aunt Abby gathered up the extra-long Jude and the now crawling Imogene so they could get some sugar too. After hugging Great-Gran the children charged down the hall to Grandpa’s study and gave him lots of hugs. Aunt Abby made sure Jude and Imogene were included. After getting Grandpa hugs and some raisins, of course, the cousins whooped and ran back up the hall to Grammie working in the kitchen. They gathered around her with their little and not so little legs, and their little and not so little arms and wrapped her up in lots and lots of love, but never too much love.
“I love Abby,” Ellie said tugging her into the family hug.
“Let’s all be loved,” Grammie said.
“Let’s all be loved,” everyone said together.