It all started when the boys were little and their cousins stayed on the weekend, during school break or over the summer. I have always loved having lots of kids around and wanted to build that strong bond amongst the cousins. As the children of my siblings, my nieces and nephews are extensions of a beautiful family that I cherish.
I remember my twin nephews, Alex and Anthony, staying over when Nick was about 1. They were all so little and excited about the sleepover. I think my sister was more nervous than excited, but they survived, we tried to do it at least a couple times a year.
As more kids were born (11 in all amongst my family, my two sisters, and my brother), the sleepovers grew and turned into Camp Cammarata. It included everyone sleeping in the living room or basement, going to the town pool to swim, and taking walks in the woods with the dogs.
After Nick passed, these sleepovers lasted for a few days and was a constant solace to Stephen who missed his sibling. I think it was also a balm to his cousins, who felt the loss deep in their hearts, as we were always a very close family.
I hope that the memories created during these visits and sleepovers are as deeply felt by my son, nieces and nephews. Taking the time to be with those you love, especially when they get older and move away is paramount to keeping a tight family even tighter.
I miss the years when our kids played together with love and joy. Well they played nicely most of the time. As much as they played together, they fought too!
Camp Cammarata will always be here for anyone who wants to come and stay! Full breakfast included!
What are some summer or annual traditions that you have with your family, whether siblings, cousins, or children? How can you create strong bonds among extended family or within your family as children grow up and move away? What feeling do you want to create with your loved ones–commitment, love, togetherness, honesty, openness, fun? You are the catalyst.