I don’t know what your family is like but I’ve always had an enormous family; I think I must have over 80 cousins. I haven’t been close to them all, and some of them I’ve never even met, but the cousins I grew up with were my very best of friends.
This is going to be a rather bittersweet post for me to write as it’ll fill with my heart with the purest of joy but it will also sting me in the soul knowing that we have became only but strangers. I can’t remember the last time we got together. I can’t tell you the last time they asked me how I was doing. Of course, it works both ways, life gets busy and people prioritise their own. It’s just how it is. But isn’t it sad?
I only ever went on one family holiday with my parents. When everyone else was going abroad with their families during the summer, I looked forward to going to stay with my Gran for two weeks, an hour or so up the road. It was always exciting, and special, because my cousins would be there. My Gran would have planned many adventures and excursions for us all to do. And boy, did we create the best memories! We didn’t need anything to amuse us though, we amused ourselves, and always had one another roaring with laughter until our sides split.
Bed time was the best – I guess as kids we were mischievous and that’s when we came alive. We would stay up late, thinking we were crazy, telling stories and making up daft games. We didn’t have mobile phones or iPads or any technology really for that matter. We had one another and that was enough. More than enough.
Growing up, I always revelled in the company of my cousins. I was one of the youngest and always admired and looked up to them; I always enjoyed my younger cousins looking up to me, too. We would have regular sleepovers, go out long walks and adventures together, phone one another up, borrow one another’s clothes, always asking one another advice, sharing everything together, going to parties together – we were just always a close-knit family. I would only go somewhere if my cousins were going, or I’d be absolutely buzzing if I knew they were coming over. Thinking back to the days where we genuinely didn’t need anything but one another to amuse ourselves absolutely breaks my heart. I’m not sure the kids of today will have that luxury.
The first time I went on a bus was with my big cousin. The first time I flew on an aeroplane without my Mum and Dad was with my cousins. The first few times I tried alcohol was with my cousins. My first girls’ night in town was with my cousin. The first time I experimented with make up was with my cousins. The first time I done a lot of things, it was with them, always with them.
I never thought we would break the bond that we had. I never thought I’d fall away from my family as much as I have, not just my cousins, even my big brother. Everyone is living their own life now. And we have all become strangers.
A handful of my cousins have their own children now. Isn’t that bizarre? I still think of my cousins as the naïve, playful and carefree kids we all were. I don’t think of them as Mothers or Fathers. It doesn’t feel so long ago we were all just finding our feet in this big crazy world and now they are showing someone else how it all works. And here’s me. I don’t even know how it all works. I can’t seem to make sense of it all. I can’t seem to let anyone close to me because everyone just becomes a stranger in the end.
I have my cousins on social media now, well, some of them. A handful of them aren’t on it. And would you believe, recently, some of my cousins blocked/deleted me? They actually removed me from their life, in a sense, as it’s the only way we connect with one another now. I felt a profound sadness when I discovered this. What could I have possibly done for you to dismiss me like that? Don’t you remember who I am, and all of the good times, and memories we shared?
Like I said, I can’t make sense of it all. I’m an over-thinker and I guess my mental health doesn’t allow me to move on and forget anything. I just keep wishing we could go back in time and do it all over again. Life was so simple. Nobody judged one another. We were all there for one another. If there was a problem, the adults, or someone else would sort it out. Now, we just need to deal with it ourselves. I, just need to deal with it myself.
It’s a sad reality but my cousins have become strangers.
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