My cousins have always been a big part of my life. I was an only child for the first 10 years of my life, but my cousins up the street substituted for siblings since we were together almost every day. My older cousin was our babysitter on bowling nights. We would put on puppet shows for her.
I might not have seen my cousins who lived twenty minutes away as often, but I certainly saw them two or three times a week, so we were also very much a part of each other’s lives. I remember as each new cousin arrived, how excited we all were. How much love there was for the new baby. Everyone eager to hold, snuggle, kiss the new little clan member.
We gathered for birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. We went places together – Ontario Place, Wonderland, the Science Centre, Niagara Falls, vacations. I was the eldest and once I had my driver’s license, I would gather the cousins and away we would go. No parents. Just us. Thinking back on it, it was an incredible responsibility but at the time it was just a day to have fun together.
My mum and her sisters had two cousins who lived within an hour’s drive. My aunt up the street spent a great deal of time with one of those cousins and we spent a great deal of time with the other. Those adult cousins were “aunt” and “uncle” to us and their children were our cousins. Deep connections were formed as we spent weekends together. We have a shared history and shared memories.
I am also incredibly grateful for technology that allows me to be connected to my cousins up north (Northern Ontario) and my cousins across the pond. We can share photos, videos and keep each other updated on our families and lives.
Cousins are peers, friends, comrades, confidants. I cherish each and every one of mine. And to those who have been with me from the start, I share this quote "God made us cousins because He knew our mothers could not handle us as siblings."