This weekend we celebrated my cousin’s 40th birthday. If you’ve been around for a while now, you know that cousins are something I have plenty of! My Dad is one of eleven children, and my mother is one of five. There’s a lot of us. And when we get together it’s always the best of times.
There’s something about being around people who you’ve known your entire life. People who are somewhat obligated to care about you and want the best for you. For me, my family is a place I find a genuine sense of belonging. A grounding place that I can go to when I’m not sure where I’m going, or even who I am.
A place to belong.
I think it’s the shared history and understanding of the person that you were and who you’ve become. Who knows. But whatever it is, I spend some time laughing and talking and sharing with them and all is right in the world. It’s restorative and I can’t believe that for the past few years I really haven’t made an effort to seek out these occasions.
There have been times in my life that I wondered if my family stopped me developing the skills I need to make friends. Having an inbuilt crew my entire life was the best. But it sort of turned off that switch in my mind that needed other people. I’ve never made friends easily and even as a child, it occurred to me that I didn’t really need them.
I mean, I have at least six cousins born within 18 months of me, I’m set.
But whatever way that coin lands, I wouldn’t change this large, crazy, hilarious, infuriating family for a thing. You know how I am about my parents, siblings and the kids. I’m glad I get the chance to extend that love further and further to cousins and their kids. A foundation I can build my life on. Strong, sure and secure.
I know not everyone has that. For some, this will be a big old slap in the face. But if you don’t have it, look for it and find it with the people who have known you longest. Find that place where you belong and seek it out when you need to ground yourself. Still looking, I can loan you my lot. They’re great at parties!