Jen’s recent post about the closeness she has with her cousins and her sisters pricked me with memories about my cousins growing up. They were all on my dad’s side as my mother’s family was in England. We used to all convene either in Niagara Falls where my father grew up, or jump the ditch and head to Grand Island, New York, where his sister and family had a big house built for hosting.
Sidebar: For those who grew up in the Toronto area and were drenched by the Buffalo television affiliates, Grand Island, NY was where Fantasy Island was (still is?) and their commercial asked the following question on Saturday mornings: “Fun? Wow!!!” Cue carnival music. Now, back to Irv Weinstein and the Tonawanda fires.
We would make the drives at least twice a quarter and all the cousins would jam in the pool or the basement or the attic and try to turn forced family into easy friendship. It worked for the most part, as we all fell into grooves and cliques made easier by the thickness of our respective blood. Then we all grew up and due to death and geography and family acrimony we stopped seeing each other completely.
Now we see each other at funerals. Sad and true.
My boys are lucky to very close to their cousins. They are older, quickly moving (or have moved) from tween to teenage, but all are very warm towards Hudson and Tasman, again allowing the strength of the familiar bond to overwhelm any rearing or cultural differences that barely exist. I really enjoy being Uncle Jason to them and, because my sister and I are a bit different (she is awesome, I am a dork), I am afforded the luxury of being the goofball and occasional confidante. I also am the only family Facebook friend of my nephew, a badge I wear quite proudly.
So to echo Jen’s sentiment, I am lucky. My boys are lucky to have wonderful role models (again, shout out to my big sister and her husband for doing parenting so right it’s intimidating) and hopefully lifelong friends.
If I close my eyes, I can picture Hudson and his cousin (two years his senior) heading out together to a house party or science fair (not sure which way it will go). Can also picture Tasman as a tween and trying to find his way among tree-like early twenty and teenage years of his cousins and brother. If the past is any indication, they will treat him right.
We are heading north this weekend to surround ourselves in docks and decks and picnic tables and family.
We leave Friday and everyone is very excited.