Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sisters, Brothers, Cousins

July 24, 2008 - Remember all those family get togethers? How about the 'kids' table' during the holidays? Summer BBQs that seemed to always fall on the best day in the summer to have been home hanging out with your friends but you had to be present? Think back to those events. Now think about who made them bearable. Who was it at the kids table with you? For me, it was my cousins.

I had many cousins - we were all close in age - to eat with, fight with, laugh with, break toys with, scrap with, get in trouble with, throw food at... I'm not certain I could have survived any of the big family events at all if not for cousins. Today is Cousin's Day. I was the only girl in a group of four of us that were all closest in age. There was David, Andrew, and Bill. I learned some of life's most important lessons from these cousins. I learned that it's easier to play in a pair of overalls than it was to play in a kilt and patent shoes. It was better to punch back than to run upstairs crying. If you are going to teach a girl to burp, the Coke shouldn't be so cold. If you throw up Coke instead of burping, you should aim away from your cousin. I also learned about boys. I wasn't actually their little sister - so they introduced me to all their friends.

A couple years behind us in age were Ryan, Kelly and Rob. I learned lots from them too. If you are going to spend the summer watching TV on the satellite dish be prepared for what you might find. We watched the shuttle blow up in front of our eyes on a giant screen when what we were trying to find was a cartoon.

From Andrew, I learned that life can be approached with a smile regardless of what you have to deal with. From David I learned that life may hand you challenges, but you will never escape them unless you look them square in the eye. I also learned from him that you can't actually beat up a car. Neither Andrew nor David is with me anymore, but the lessons will stay with me for life.

From Bill, I learned that you can take the back wall off the garage and get the dirt bikes out unnoticed. I also learned that if you tee a golf ball up in the front lawn and wait for a train to go by across the street, you can really improve your game. Maybe most importantly, from my cousins, I learned that even an only child can have brothers and sisters, and the kids' table wasn't the worst place in the world to have dinner.

Today is also National Drive-Thru Day. I live thousands of miles away from my cousins now. There is no more kids' table, and there are no more burping lessons. But now I'm old enough to drive a car, and to eat alone. Drive-Thru windows have really made that easy.

I would love to go back in time and have another Christmas dinner at the kids table instead of hitting the drive thru, but time does not stand still, and I just don't have the time to sit down for a meal. While working on my fries and the too cold Coke today, I'll think fondly of my cousins. I promise I won't belch the Coke all over the wind shield.

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