The Cousins

Or What It’s Like Being An Only Child But Having Over Twenty Cousins…

On my father’s side of the family, I’m the baby. And that’s what they called me up until my late 20s, “the baby”. Then my cousin were having their own babies and I wasn’t the baby anymore, thank goodness. Even though I was the baby, I was the first to have babies.

There’s quite an age difference between my oldest cousin and me, over 15 years. My father’s brother was 10 years older than my father, so that sort of explains the age difference. Because my cousins were so much older than me, we didn’t have much in common when we were young. They were busy being teens and I was a little kid. I’m sure I annoyed them. So I don’t have much of a history with my father’s side. That and my father had a huge blowout with his brother and they didn’t speak for decades. The kids got dragged into it against our wishes. It was a mess.

On my mother’s side, I’m one of the oldest. There are a few cousins around my age but none of them lived near me. So I was the de facto babysitter. I’ve had a baby on my hip since I was seven and I loved it. I always wanted to be a mom. I felt like they were my kids, or at least little brothers and sisters. I taught them all their ABCs and 123s. They all took their first steps toward me. I knew their favorite books and movies, everything. I’m still close to them.

What I love is that because of how close I am with my baby cousins, they bonded with my kids too. And not only that… My kids have bonded with my other cousins’ kids. There’s a similar age difference and I told my kids that they would always need my kids around as role models and a big brother and sister, and they took that on happily. I love seeing how those kids look up to my kids and how happy my kids are with their little cousins. I hope it’s something that gets passed on generation after generation.

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