Cousins—Who Are They?
Most people have cousins, kissing or otherwise. But, who are these people who aren’t part of your nuclear family but who are part of your history, some quite close to you.
Like many, I have tons of cousins, some I’ve never seen, talked to, and whose names I don’t know. Some I’ve not seen for most of my life. Others drop into and out of my life like jumping beans when the occasion warrants. While some never leave my continual memory, others linger only in an occasional, conversationally- triggered recollection, usually in conjunction with something or someone else.
I have one female cousin, for instance who’s a few years older than I. After I left high school, I didn’t see her often. From the early 70’s on, I didn’t see her at all. Of course, part of that was the fact that I didn’t live there any longer.
She came to my mother’s funeral in 1985 and we got a chance to talk for a while. Months later I didn’t get an opportunity to join her at her mother’s funeral. I was, again, out of state and unable to attend. I’ve always felt bad about that.
Our lives had taken such divergent paths, she with marriage and career, and me with exploration, that connecting didn’t enter the mix of our lives. That’s when an oddity landed in my inbox. A Facebook message came along that changed all that distance into an opportunity to reacquaint myself with this woman who’d sat in Grandma’s house and played with paper dolls.
She’s had three successful careers in her lifetime; corporate, consultant, and her own business of interior design. She’d grown restless and bored after retiring from corporate and plunged into design. She’d been business woman of the year a few times. She was still married. A dynamo, all the way around.
She reached out to me because we hadn’t seen or talked to each other since 1985 and she wanted to reconnect. I’m glad that she did.
We’re different people now, all grown up, histories of our own, failures and successes unique to ourselves, and generally have something interesting to share with each other. Those facts allow us to come together as two ends of a severed rope; each end having frayed in a slightly different pattern and tangle, but still able to be spliced back together and made stronger for it.
I’ll be honest here. I don’t reconnect with old friends and relations very well. I don’t have the knack of it yet. I never did, really.
I’m always anxious about who the person has become and whether I can now trust them as much as I did the last time we met. The converse is also true. There’s always the possibility that they’re most trustworthy than the last time we met. That very potential creates anxiety until they reveal who they are at present.
With cousins, the anxiety is double. These are part of the family. They are supposed to be trustworthy by definition and subject to championing me and mine at all times. It’s the possibility for disappointment or disillusionment that keeps meetings shaky. At least for me.
This new reconnection, though, is going along very well, I have to say. My cousin and I have plenty to explore within each other’s lives, talents, and changes. The person I knew from high school was a dim shadow of the woman I’ve come to know recently.
Today’s cousin has a fuller, richer personality, a deeper spirit than the one from memory. This cousin will become a very good friend for this time in my life.