Monday, May 28, 2007

In praise of cousins

We just got back from my niece's wedding in Minneapolis. The event was beautiful, and it was great catching up with my siblings--the five of us hadn't gathered in the same place since 2003. The best part, though, was watching my sons getting reacquainted with long-distance cousins. Look at the warmth in this moment (John & Joey with their Indiana cousin, Amy).

Amy was about 10 when John came along, and she loved holding each of the babies every chance she got. Now she's a mom, and the boys are enchanted by Amy's infant daughter, Haley. These too-infrequent reunions spark in me a primal longing for the old, old days when extended families stuck together. It would have been nice to have the cousins, and aunts, and uncles, and grandparents nearby when our kids were little. We have friends who function as family, in that they are witness to kids' birthdays, graduations, marriages, and other milestones. I'm so grateful for that. But blood really is thicker than water, and cousins help kids know they belong to something biologically and emotionally permanent and true.

My cousin Jane lives in Virginia, and our childhood reunions were dismally few. But, mysteriously, we still connect, as our mothers did, in the sweet spot of family, the place that knows and accepts everything.

What are your cousin stories?


Jas P. said...

Both sides of my family have been scattered all over the country for most of my life, so my few cousin memories are mostly of the rare, special-occasion family gatherings that all kind of blend together.

Jonah's in the same boat, only with fewer cousins, some of whom are more widely dispersed than mine were. Even his sister and brother live 1900 and 600 miles respectively away.

But I may have to fish out the photo of him and his cousin Babe from last summer and load it onto Spulge Nine, with a post parallel to this one. A fine read, Mol...

Liza Jane said...

Jane is a cousin extradinaire. She makes up for some of the other cousins who Molly has kindly left out of her lovely piece. Here are some hints about our experiences with them:

Cook County Jail
Fake vomit
"What would be your favorite way to die?"
Deer turd in woods