My handsome husband and I have just (mostly) survived a week with fourteen of these adorable little people in our two-bedroom home. Yes, we are crazy. No, we will never do it this way again. Cousins Camp is a tradition we started about fifteen years ago, and we haven’t held it every year. But often enough that the big kids ask for it.

When I asked the campers what their favorite memory would be from this year, Face Painting got the most votes. It even beat out riding a real horse with a real deputy sherrif. Go figure.

Children tend to be pretty me-centered, in case you haven’t noticed. But this crew spent two hours watching everyone else be transformed from regular-ole-cousin into exotic-princess or scary-tiger or whatever. When it was your turn to be painted, the event was really rather boring and torturous. You had to sit perfectly still and stop chatting while the professionals dabbed and drew gunk all over your sweaty face.

Afterwards, everyone took a couple of looks in the mirror and then ran off to play as their chosen character for the afternoon. Violet didn’t have to run back into the house every few minutes and say:

“Wait. Am I really a princess? ‘Cause I can’t see it. I can see Pax is a ninja turtle, but I can’t see that I’m a princess.”

No. She just knew. She accepted her identity because 1.) she had experienced the painting process, 2.) she had caught a glimpse in the mirror, 3.) her cousins all called her a princess.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we grown-ups could so easily accept our own identities? Maybe, if we start trusting the process, the glimpses, and the people around us, we will stop running back to the mirror and saying, “But, wait! Am I really a writer?”

No? Was that just me? Okay, insert your own area of insecurity.

Now go finish up a happy summer with the people you love. Invest in some face paint.