Why Have Older Siblings When You Can Have Older Cousins?

I grew up an only child, a trait I share with only a few people in my life. Growing up in a neighborhood with not many children, and no siblings, lead me to play times where my imagination was actively engaged, always hoping an older sibling to add to that mix. At that young age, I did not really understand that I couldn’t just acquire an older sibling. A mentor, guardian, and friend doesn’t just fall out of the sky and land in someone’s lap. However, as I have aged and mature through time and experiences, I never realized how finding an older sibling can be so serendipitous. While they did not fall onto to my lap, they were in my family all along, just sharing a different blood.

On both my mother’s and father’s side, I am one of the younger cousins. With my mother, I have one cousin who I am younger than by six months. On my father’s I am youngest of three, the other two brothers. Unbeknownst to me, throughout my life I have slowly been gaining cousins as siblings.

On my mother’s side, my older cousin and I have shared much time together. We did not grow up far apart from each other, and the memories we have together would not fit in even the largest of diaries. She and I have played games together, recorded music videos, and work out tutorials. We choreographed dance routines, belted break up songs, ran through neighborhoods and theme parks, and told stories until the TV time ran out, more than once. We have climbed mountains together, both physically and emotionally. While barely trying, I have gotten to a level of knowing my cousin that for many others could be impossible to reach. This unbreakable bond has elevated her family connection to me, no matter if the blood we share is not direct. Even though I can be known to talk over her and reject her advice, I cannot deny that the love and admiration I have for this human being brings me immense joy. I can only see our future together, and our sisterhood, soaring from its already uplifted place.

On my father’s side, our time together has not been as frequent due to distance. And as a very young girl, I had a complicated time understanding the dynamic of our relationship. I could never really fathom why two teenage boys could care so much about what I had to say. Until I realized it was because of how infinitely they cared about me. Now, our connection is just as deep, and as important to me because it is almost unspoken. We have been together for holidays, life events, and the tough stuff. In those events, all we would need to share amongst the shouting and laughing and the turkey frying was a quick glance, or sideways comment, and all was understood. I have four brown eyes that just look at me and comprehend almost everything. It’s a bond and quiet conversation that can only come from a family relationship that becomes a brotherhood. I can feel that they look out over me like a little sister they never had, even from over 800 miles away.

These three individuals, whether they know it or not, are the reason I feel loved on days where feeling loved is impossible.

 

-Main image from pexels.com, other images provided by autor.