We recently took a trip to Florida to visit family who reside in Arizona but spend their summers at the beach. My cousin’s twins are six weeks younger than my oldest son, and watching my boys play with her kids brought back the magic of cousins and many memories of family bonding.
I am lucky to have many first cousins, two of whom we were visiting in Florida. These cousins grew up in California, and my sister and I grew up in NJ. When we were very young, my mom decided to make the trip out west every year so we would always be close to our California cousins.
I am so grateful for that decision. Having family across the country taught me that quality over quantity can make a big difference in personal relationships.
While we often wished we could spend Thanksgiving together or birthdays (which we did pull off several times), those two weeks of summer or winter vacation traveling up and down the coast of California, swimming in Lake Tahoe, skiing in the Nevada mountains, or even just playing Monopoly and making up dance routines made for some of my best memories and created a very strong bond.
Now we are all grown up, still live on opposite ends of the country, and have carried on the vacation traditions with our own children.
Cousins have always been a magical part of my life. A cross between a sibling and a friend who shared DNA but different homes, a special connection with which I’ve been blessed and continue to choose time and time again.
There’s comfort in knowing that love and connection stay strong no matter time or distance.
That security has always allowed me to take risks, live away from those I love, and carry on familial relationships and friendships across the country and world. I wish the same for my boys and hope they are also learning that love and strong family bonds are intact no matter where they choose to call home someday.