Those Other Siblings

Thinking today about cousins. Those kids who come along to your aunts and uncles. Steal some of your grandma thunder…;) Instantly make you look “dumber” to your previously adoring aunts and uncles! Whatever.

Seriously. Who else would want to play with you even though you might be geeky? Who else would punch someone in the eye if they called you names (brothers/sisters may just enjoy that too much)? Who else would pretend to be your posse so you weren’t all alone in the cruel middle school years? And beyond!

My cousins still come to my defense, when the world throws its best barbs, and deflect them without a second thought! Still in touch with me, after aaallll theeeessee yeaaars! Most of ’em, anyway!

Jim, Tom, Patti, I miss you guys! Get on e-mail, Twitter, or something! Maria, Marla, Michael and Nikki; Separated by about 2,000 miles, give or take, for so many years, now. It is so nice to be able to converse back and forth due to the wonders (and/or curses) of the aforementioned social media. Hard workers and devoted to families. Even if you misread some of my messages because of lack of (my) clarity. Bud, Toni and Darek. Who survived my babysitting for four years and haven’t turned out to be career criminals because of my influence/lack thereof. 😀 Kelly, Skip, Bill and Chris:  Who have lived all over the place but mostly AZ and SoDak. You’ve survived some hellish times and honor your mother with your devotion.

Before the Great American Work Separation, when families had to disperse in order to gain employment, we had some rollicking times at Christmas and Fourth of July. Roller skating in Grandparents’ basement. Fighting over roller skating in Grandparents’ basement…picnics at Ojibway Island. Easter get-togethers at various aunts/uncles homes. All spread out now, but with deep Michigan roots that gave us determined work ethics, some almost midwestern/mideastern/lots of northern split personalities. Not sophisticated (interpretation: snobby) enough for East coasters. Not liberal (translation: wacky) enough for West coasters. Michigan trying to straddle somewhere in between. We can like almost anybody! (Fairly) innocent times and learning who you were and where you belonged. Even if you thought you didn’t want to, sometimes.

We’ve been through hardships and great times. Times to dance and times to cry. Blood ties – thicker than water. Not to sound too Soprano-ish. But then, we are 3rd generation part Sicilian!

And then, just an added layer of “safety net” – the second cousins. That once-removed outer layer of the familial onion skin. Go before us to dodge those barbs and learn how  to love and live, in spite of…well…the spite of the world. Lessons, lessons. Another insulating layer of love because no one can choose their cousins, after all. Thank you, too, Carol, Buzz, Eddie, Susie, and Marijo. Gary, who was devoted to his Aunt Jane, my Grandma. He didn’t have to be; he chose to be. To help her and to help us. Because he was that close to God. Rest in peace, Gary. Keep Aunt Jane on her toes! Jimmy, Sharon, and Kathy. Still remember your forays back “home” to Michigan, even though it must’ve been tough to be so far from your adopted home state on those occasions; making do at various, temporary family homes. Rick, Rod, and Randy. More like big brothers than cousins; for real. Now, the Sicilian Bay City cousins with whom we become acquainted online and share stories and pictures. Although we didn’t grow up with these second cousins, they just feel “right” and add to the total sum, enriching us.

I’m going to try to be even more appreciative of my cousins and continue to get to know them even better. Wherever they live and learn. All have added to the richness of my biological genetics by adding the human emotional factor. Even if subconsciously. And my, didn’t you all have some pretty amazing aunts and/or uncles who blessed you with cousins when siblings (deservedly) couldn’t stand you any longer? I’m sure that’s why they go ahead and procreate, instead of opting for sterilization, even after seeing a few of the nieces and nephews!

Except for the very eldest, they can’t say they weren’t forewarned!

PS  Thanks for the article idea, Toni!

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~ by saginawrobin on February 12, 2013.

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