Most of us have cousins. In some families they are close, in some not so much. I listen to the stories Leonard tells about growing up with lots of siblings (9 of them) and lots of cousins. I reflect on my own cousins.
I consider my mothers family. My grandmother was also from a family of 10 children. I well remember the closeness of that unit. As I child I attended many Thanksgivings and other holidays where the whole lot of them would be there. Many years ago a few of those cousins started a family reunion tradition. For several years there would be in attendance well over 100 family members. As my great-aunts and great-uncles died, a few of their children continued with the reunion. We've not had one for three years now as the driving force behind the tradition has also passed from this life. By this time few people attended and very little interest has been shown to continue.
Beside the reunion my mother and her cousins had what they called "Cousin meetings" through the years. Each year it seemed there were less cousins to attend. To my count there are only 6 or 7 left. I am sure this small group still gets together.
On my fathers side I would see my cousins only occasionally. I was close to none of them.
My Dad died on Christmas morning 2004. Mom died last June. I miss them both and maybe that is part of the reason I wish I had a stronger connection to my extended family. I have chosen not to lose contact with some cousins. About once a month I call two cousins who are now both in their 80's.
This is my mother on the left and my cousin Thelma who everyone knows as Sis. It was taken a few years back at one of the family reunions. Mom and Sis were close in age as Sis's mother was my mother's half sister and somewhat older than Mom. Mom and Sis were best of friends. I know Sis misses my mother's daily (sometimes more) telehpone calls. I call once her about once a month.
My mother had two half sisters. One half sister (Sis' mom) lived nearby and I would see her often. The other half-sister's husband worked on military bases and the family often traveled to his stations with him. I would not see that family as often. I am having the pleasure to getting reacquainted with these cousins as we travel.
One is Muriel who lives in Arizona. We spent a lot of time with her last winter while there.
Muriel and Leonard.
Muriel has 5 daughters. I had not seen any of her children since infants. While near Phoenix we met up with her oldest Annette and her husband Ross.
A little later today I get to meet Muriel's youngest Amy (who is just 3 weeks younger than my Amy). Amy lives near Austin and she and her daughters and grandson are driving up to visit.
Muriel has a sister, Bonnie, who lives in Oklahoma City. I caught up with her last Spring while in that area. We will be in the OKC area next week and plan to see Bonnie again.
Muriel and Bonnie have a brother Bill who lives in Kentucky. One of these days I will be paying him a visit too.
One person I consider a cousin is really my friend Carolyn. She married my Mother's cousin Paul.
Lois (my first friend as a child) and cousin Carolyn.
There are few cousins still alive on my fathers side. Mae is in her 80's and the only one I have contact with. She and Mom were very close and also talked on the phone regularly. I call her about once a month too.
We have committed to getting to together along with our cousin Kenny when I get back in the area. I adored Kenny when we were children.
Another benefit of traveling, I get to reconnect with family members who live far from "home".
So, today's topic was COUSINS. I so envy those families where the cousins have a close bond. I wonder if other families have cousins who have remained close or if unfortunately my situation is the usual. What is your relationship with your COUSINS?