Thursday, December 13, 2012


I Love My Cousin

Is there a reason I love my cousin?

I went ice skating the other day in Bryant Park here in New York City. It was a friends’ birthday, and she thought it might be fun to go ice skating, since it was free-
-except for the skate rental, hot chocolate, and lock for the lockers.
But that’s cool- I am proud to live in a socialist city like that, where parts are free, and parts are for pay- it makes a profit every year- and it’s FREE!
Well, as we saw the VERY long line to get in, I walked around the rink just to see if we could find our friend skating around.
That’s when I saw them.
There were two little guys, about 7 or 8 skating together, and they kinda looked like each other, so I assume they were brothers. The bigger one was helping the smaller one keep his balance, but the bigger one was pretty wobbly too. You could tell he was just trying to “be there” for the little guy as he held the railing along the outside.
As they gripped the handrails, and carefully put one foot in front of the other, I remarked “Wow, it must be great to have a big brother to help you out like that, huh?”
Well, the bigger kid looked at me as if I had said the silliest thing in the world:
“He’s my cousin.”
And that’s all he said.
He said it like “Duh, I love my cousin, and he needs help, so this is what I’m doing- THIS IS WHAT COUSINS DO…”
Well, I suddenly had the biggest lump in my throat as they just continued on with this ice skating thing, totally ignoring the (dashing) older man with the ridiculous observation.
I was reminded of my own cousin Mark.

I love my cousin Mark.

He’s my only first cousin; he’s taller, older, better-and-younger looking, he’s a lawyer, and taught me to like Star Trek and Prince. He was who I got to play with when we had family dinners,  and now that we’re older we still sit next to each other and talk and laugh about… Star Trek, and Prince.
…and maybe the hottest girl on whatever show.
He recently got married, and I got to be his best man. I got to do a best man speech for him, and everyone knows I love my cousin Mark.
You probably have a cousin who is instantly your friend. Sure, you might disagree on things (like him not liking J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek), but just because you are family, you’re friends.
And it’s not like your Toy-and-Parental-Attention-Stealing siblings.

Why do I Love My Cousin? I’ve never heard of “Cousin Rivalry” have you?

I remember a time when Mark and I both slept over at our grandmas house, and we were small enough to be in the same bed. I wanted to sleep under the covers, but he was terrified that there would be no air and I would suffocate on his watch, so after a long debate (I love my cousin- he’s a lawyer now) we settled on my sleeping under the covers that were knit with holes in them.
When I was really sick with Stevens Johnson Syndrome, he came to see me which could not have been very easy. I needed someone to play with while I was recovering, and he took a shot so he could be around me (And this was in his early teens- there must have been more exciting things to do than be around your sick cousin… BUT THAT’S WHAT COUSINS DO).
I love my cousin, so it’s easy for me to do stuff for him and with him too.  I’m sure there’s a cousin that you feel the same way about. It’s fun to talk about the same old things, new things, and the new things about the old things. Now our conversations are about being married, and our parents lives changing. Maybe we’ll be talking about being parents ourselves and having our kids play together. Who knows?
Your cousin might be older, younger, close, or far, but you know that at times like the Holidays, birthdays, weddings, funerals, or any other special occasions, you remember your cousins. There’s something about the “kids of your parent’s brothers and sisters” that just brings them close enough without the headaches.
Sure, they’re crazy, and they come from that other part of town. Maybe they’re constantly going into business and want you to work with them, or buy their thing, or vote for their crazy candidate. But you know when the time comes, they’ll say “I love my cousin”, and they’ll claim you as their own.
You can trust your cousin.
There might even be a time when you feel like you’re on shaky footing, and the ice may be thin and slippery, but if you’re lucky to have a cousin like mine, you know that they won’t let you slip and fall through.
And if you’re REALLY lucky, they know that about you too.
Share this with someone if you know what I mean by I love My Cousin