I’m one of 53 grandchildren on my mom’s side. 59 on my dad’s. It means I can’t really go anywhere without running into family.

At BYU and in New York I lived with cousins. My most recent stake president was a cousin. When Teach for America placed me in a school in New York—a school system 1200 schools big—I happened to get placed in a school where my cousin had already been teaching for a year. The interview went like this: “You’re Fowler’s cousin? You’re hired.” And last week, just six weeks after moving to Virginia, a cousin moved into our same apartment complex.

I feel like every time I have to do something that scares me (go to college, move to New York, join the Foreign Service), God sends me a cousin to ease the load. I would not be a little bit surprised if after we got to Senegal, we got an email from a cousin telling me “he was getting transferred.”

Is this braggy? Because I haven’t even brought up second-cousins. Don’t get me started on the two separate times I was on a date with a boy only to find that our mothers were, you guessed it, cousins.

It’s this wonderful thing my parents and their siblings did for me, and I spend a lot of time hoping and hoping that our children will have cousins like I have cousins.

A bunch of us got to be together Easter weekend. We watched conference and egg hunted and Easter dinnered. I had really looked forward to the weekend, thinking back on the many cousin dinners of the last ten years. We’d eat something wonderful and then sit around and talk and laugh late into the night. I couldn’t wait.

But something was terribly off the entire weekend. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but for some reason, it wasn’t working. I felt tired. Conversations seemed short and at times, hurried. It was noisy and messy. There a constant backdrop of complaining and fighting. While it was wonderful in its own way, it wasn’t one of the cousins’ gatherings I remembered.

Then it hit me:  we all have kids now. I think about the time, at a family reunion, when my older brother, up in the middle of the night (again) with a screaming child, was heard to cry in despair, “WHY ARE YOU RUINING MY LIFE?”

Brace myself, I suppose. Like I said, I want my children to have cousins like I had cousins.

Let the wild rumpus continue.