It is impossible to stay lonely for long with this brood. These are my nieces and nephews. My brother John’s children: Raine, Avery and Tori. My brother Paul’s children: Christian, Adam and Catherine. My brother Mark’s daughter, Ellie. Children are the lifeblood of a family – metaphorically and literally. These children are among my best friends. Raine had a serious conversation with me about my haircut and color, wanting to know if I had gotten it done recently. During a quiet moment Catherine asked what I wanted to do next and offered to play a guessing game with me in which she gave me hints involving fruits and vegetables and I had to guess what they were. Tori let me join her Girl’s Only club. Ellie and I read books and played ball. The adults expressed heartfelt thanks for their families and health, the children got to the heart of things – “My school program,” said Christian. “Cartoons,” said Raine. “Toys,” said Tori. “Pop tarts,” said Avery. “Videogames,” said Adam. Children never shy from the truth. I love them for their honesty, their imaginations, their in-the-moment existence. I am thankful most of all for these children – slayers of loneliness, creatures of joy.