A few beers, a burger, and an afternoon watching three sets of parents keep up with four rambunctious children has set the likelihood of me coupling and mating back at least two years.

I kid, of course.

The Bolster/Wagner clan — Wagner brothers Christofer and I, Bolster brothers Brian and BJ, and respective wives and children — gathered in Chatham, NJ, for a Memorial Day BBQ. By 5:00, I was the one asleep on the couch.

Just getting there was a challenge. Brian and Roxane picked me up around 1:00 and we headed for the Holland Tunnel. Francis went, as Brian put it, apoplectic. Nothing could stop his wailing all the way through the tunnel, until Mommy finally offered up some lunch. Then we had to stop for a potty break. It took us an hour to go five miles.

But it was fine, and fun, and cute, really. Clearly a sense of humor and a healthy dose a patience is requsite for the gig.

Once to Chatham, I counted twelve SUVs in the surrounding few houses in BJ’s neighborhood. As Brian put it, it would cost $30,000 to fill ’em all full of gas. Inside, the families gathered, and children were spilling over children, and baby talk and mommy voices were chattering — it was pure chaos.

It was a beautiful, picture-perfect day outside. The kids were awesome and adorable. But man, oh, man, what a handful! I mostly sat by, documenting everything in pictures, trying to pitch in, and figure out how it is that I, the second-oldest of the four cousins, was the only one unhitched and without-offspring. But these kids were bigger than me. They were more powerful than all of us.

I don’t have any answers as to why me (or, why not me), but I can tell you that the whole thing’s pretty magical. And even if I can’t find a candidate who’s willing to have an understated wedding and just one kid, well heck, I’m in anyway.

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