My family lived right next door to my mother’s brother and his family. A center wall separated our two homes, which were mirror images of each other. If my cousin and I were in our tiny bedrooms at the same time, we could practically talk to each other through the wall.
Although my two sisters and I we were physically close to our three cousins growing up, we were not emotionally close. I can’t remember one single Thanksgiving we spent together, one Sunday meal, or one vacation. My parents would go out with my uncle and aunt on Saturday nights, my father played tennis with my uncle and my mother and aunt were in the same Mahjong group, but for some inexplicable reason, none of the cousins were real friends.
I remember hearing about things called Cousin’s Clubs, in the late fifties and sixties, and thinking how odd these gatherings must have been. I wonder if my sisters and I would have been closer to our cousins if we had all been encouraged by our parents to interact more.
I adore my four nephews, and I know my sisters love my children and each other’s kids. We all get together a couple of times a year (Thanksgiving, occasional dinners), but we’ve never vacationed all together or go out of our ways to promote togetherness. The cousins are not especially close.
Cousin relationships are interesting. If siblings are close, does it automatically mean their kids will be, too? Does it matter whether cousins are friends? What if they have little in common outside of their mothers’ sisterhood? Big happy extended families are great, but I’m happy just as long as all the kids are happy and healthy people. I love being close with my nephews, and hope they’ll be in my life forever. It doesn’t appear, however, that they and my children will ever be kissing cousins.
PS My maternal grandparents were first cousins!