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!
Photo by Becca Tarter on Unsplash
Hi! I’m Melissa Walker Horn. Around here, they call me Suger. I’m the Chief Blogger and doer of all the things here at Suger Coat It. Blogging since 1901; I love a casual ootd, taking photos, and writing about things that irk or inspire me. I love wine and cheese, long days at the beach and spending time with my family. I make stuff for the internet over at Chalkboard Digital. You know, living the sweet life.
We’re a huge family – I have 17 cousins on my Dad’s side and their progeny now numbers another 36. That’s just on Dad’s side. I’m the first of 13 grandkids on Mum’s side. The thing is, we had very little to do with each other growing up and have had very little contact – which is a shame. I’ve had more to do with them since the advent of Facebook than I ever did growing up.
Lots of cousins! And I get that, my parents and their siblings loved a good get-together, I think that’s why we’re all so close and love a good party. But without Facebook, the day-to-day stuff would be impossible to keep track of! Even the arrival of new babies or partners, I mean, Facebook makes staying in touch so much easier than anything ever before. I totally get that.
Family has always been something on limited supply for me and mine. We’re a scattered bunch and have suffered a few early losses. I am envious of big families. But also know that life gives you exactly what you need to be the person you’re supposed to be. So I’ll remain peaceful in my jealousy!!
I’m sorry to hear that, Caz. For the size of our family, we have been really blessed. That said, early losses of two out of thirteen of us on my Mum’s side, certainly reality checked us all. Big families are great, sure, but like anything there are highs and lows. Stay peaceful, my lot can be loaned out if you get desperate.
I’m the first of 16 grandchildren on my mum’s side and the first of 6 on dad’s
(three of those are my brothers). I’m quite a bit older than most of them and don’t really know two on dad’s side and they’re the same age as some of my munchies. I so love getting together with the other cousins, although it doesn’t happen often enough. My favourite part is how great they all are with my munchies.
Most of them are boys and they are so amazing with them, it really is so special.
That’s the best. I love the ease with which families are just families sometimes. I’m glad to hear your cousins are so great with your kids, that makes me so happy. Naaaaw. All the feels.
Such a blessing for you because I am guessing many of them are still in your area so you catch up. I have quite a few cousins but moving to Sydney when I was 10 meant very little contact over the years. Funnily enough though an older cousin has touched base again as when he was trying to find out how my Dad was going, he ended up contacting me. I had a conversation with him on the phone and afterwards thought how good it was to have a shared family history. Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week’s optional prompt is What Is Courage? 29/52 Denyse
They are, close enough, anyway. It’s great having them around, we make a great team. I’m glad to hear your cousin is back in touch, it matters when people show up for us at those difficult times.
I have a friend who has a huge family, and talks about his cousin this or that, I have a hard time keeping up! He lives in a small country town, where every knows each other. The gatherings they have for birthdays are momentous, and as he is a photographer, he is often the one that records it all.
Haha. I’ve always assumed new people think I’m just making up stories and attributing them to cousins. I have so many, but then I also have second cousins that I refer to as cousins and it’s a never ending list of experience, jobs and stories.
I’m the photo taker too, but my cousin Kate is the legit photographer. It’s nice to have the photos we do have. It’d be better to have MORE!
I come from a really small family, so I miss out on this sort of stuff. We are really tight though. Lucky you to have so many cousins you know and get along with.
I think tight knit is pretty great, whether it’s one cousin or 50. The best!
What an amazing family to be a part of, Melissa! So cool that you’ve got so many cousins so close to you in age.
It’s such a gift! The best.
Haha all I can say is we have veerrryyyyy different family lives! Even when I lived in the same country as my biological family there was no one my age – they were all 5-10 years older or younger.
That we do. Happy to loan my lot out. We’re similar ages, right? But if you’re too much younger you’ll have to hang out with my baby sister and the second cousins. 😉
What a lovely large family network you have! Six cousins all within 18 months of age of each other sounds wonderful! Family parties and get togethers must be so much fun for your family!
Yeah, it’s madness. I have over 60 first cousins total (across both sides). To say I’ve never been short someone to hang out with is an understatement. Haha. And the parties are THE BEST. 😀
Hey Melissa, long time no see! (This is Kristin formerly of Wanderlust, btw.) I’m a bit jealous of your big family. It sounds beautiful. I have a very small family and we are all pretty far flung. There is nothing quite like that sense of belonging and safety that comes from being with loved ones who have known you your whole life.
Heya, welcome back! It’s been fun to see so many old school blog faces.
I get that, they really have been an excellent foundation for my life. I don’t know what I’d do without them. Though, if it was just my siblings and I, I’d be okay. They’re pretty awesome as far as small packages go too.
I don’t have quite so many cousins (unsurprisingly!), but I remain close to them and I feel supported by them, even though we don’t live close. My closest cousin and my aunt and uncle came to visit last week to see my sick mum and to check in on how I was doing too. It doesn’t matter how many years pass, the relationship is still rock solid. Hold onto those relationships and don’t let go!
Unsurprisingly, indeed. Haha. And you’re so right, having cousins has been one of the greatest gifts in my life. It sounds like yours are pretty great too! Sending best wishes to your Mum. xo
Still trying to get my head round the logistics of being 1 of 11! I’m an only child but growing up I had a crew of a small but perfectly formed crew of cousins who felt like siblings. Now that we’ve grown up and we live a world away, we don’t get to hang out nearly as much as we’d like and although time and distance have changed our relationship, I know they’re always there for me and vice versa. But you’re right about the people in your life who have known you forever, whether they’re your family or are friends who are like family, they’ll always have your back! You definitely scored well in the cousin department!
Right? 11 is a crazy number so siblings. Haha. We are pretty sure on that side alone I have 50 FIRST cousins. I did exceptionally well, not to mention you can’t help but be excited about that level of variety. 😛
Finding those people who know you, as you change and accept that too of course, is so important. Community, right? It’s all we need in this life.