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Cousins

August 4, 2014 2 comments

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There’s something especially awesome about the cousin relationship. Somewhere in between sibling and friend, It’s beauty is in both it’s significance and it’s ambiguity. It can imply a straightforward familial connection, as is the case with first cousins, or it can also get more vague and harder to quantify once the various delineators (second, third, once removed, “cousin’s cousin,” cousin through marriage, etc) get thrown around. And if you’re like my wife and I, certain non-blood-related friends of ours get the honorary “auntie” and “uncle” status, leaving their kids to be our son’s technically unrelated, but unquestionably bonded cousins. They say you can’t pick your family, and this is true of cousins, but it’s okay to have some favorites, or feel close to them even when the actual relationship may not be the closest according to the family tree.

Growing up, I never lived close enough to any of my cousins to see them on a daily basis or be in the same school or activities with them. Our opportunities to interact were left to holiday get-togethers and family occasions, so when we had the chance we went all in. Age difference sometimes affected the nature of how things went down (my paternal cousins are all older than me, while my maternal cousins are all within four years), but through sports and games, or less structured fun and shenanigans, I always loved being able to see my cousins.

One of my favorite parts of being a parent is to see my son in these same cousin situations. It takes me back to when I was a kid. Like me, he has some who are significantly older, and others who are very close to him in age. Whether he’s playing age-appropriately with his similarly aged cousins, or engaging his older ones to bring the play down to a level that can include him, he has fun, just like I did with mine. And even at age three, I can tell that he understands that his cousins are special.

Categories: Family, fatherhood Tags: , ,