Cousins, I think, are a different relationship than friends or siblings! Even really good friends do not have that family connection that cousins hold without the rivalry that siblings endure. Cousins are special!
When I was growing up, I was between generations. My parents were both the youngest in their families and their siblings had started families young. My dad was almost thirty before he got married, and then I came along almost ten years later, the youngest of the youngest on both sides. All of my cousins were grown and married and having their own families before I was even aware of the world around me. I had no real cousin relationships of my own, and I think that I missed out.
My children, on the other hand, have more cousins than they can keep track of. My husband’s parents divorced when he was young and both remarried. So there are three sides of cousins for my kids to enjoy with at least five cousins on each side. Fifteen first cousins, all around the same age as my kids, is more than I could have ever dreamed up as a lonely child left in the back room watching over my baby second cousins at family reunions.
Every summer my family goes away to a cabin somewhere in the woods for a long weekend. My parents, brothers, sisters-in-law, and their kids join our family of four for a sixteen people in one living space weekend. I love watching my kids play with their cousins and over the years, I have enjoyed watching the kids grow. I see my daughter and her girl cousin, who is just one-year younger, bond over “My little Pony”, “Schleich”, and “Littlest Petshop”, and I can see that they will be trouble in a few years when they are teenage girls. I am happy that she has a cousin to be a teen with, giggle with, and talk about all those things that girls talk about. I am scared of how beautiful they are both going to be!
Eventually I will watch all my nieces and nephews grow up right alongside my children and I hope that their cousin relationships will continue into adulthood. I will look back and remember all those summer cabin adventures and how little they all were, and be happy that they had each other to grow up with!