If there’s one family connection that’s different than the rest, it’s the one between cousins. You can love and argue with siblings and receive advice and caution from parents, aunts and uncles, but with cousins it’s not like any other relationship. Although I’m not close with all of my cousins, I know there are a few I can count on to give me support and understanding when I need it. When other relatives don’t relate to my life choices, it seems there is always a cousin who sees things differently. My recent bonding with cousins has proven this to be true, and what better way to honor this than on National Cousins Day? In years past, this time of summer finds my cousins and me at Cousin Campout, a weekend family event filled with boating on the lake, roasting marshmallows and Lit’l Smokies and giggling cousins in tents, but since we’re not celebrating this year, here are a few wonderful things about my cousins.
One of my favorite things about my cousins is their genuine support of my choices. They don’t interrogate, analyze or tell you what they would do. Instead, they want you to be happy and their questions are only those of curiosity. When I decided to change my career last year, it was my cousins who had my back. My cousins Jasmine, Niki and Isaac have all changed directions, starting their own businesses and their words of encouragement and understanding were just what I needed to hear as I navigated my journey. The words that still stick with me today are the ones my cousin Jasmine told me about how our family wants more when others are content to stay where they’re at. She understood why I was looking for more possibilities and that there’s nothing wrong with staying where you’re at in your life and career if you’re happy with it. The even better part about my transitions came when I spent time temporarily looking for work in Salt Lake City and when I asked cousins for their assistance, they pitched in to give me suggestions of where to look for work and who to connect with.
But it’s not just jobs where cousins have given their support, it’s also their assistance with a place to live and meeting up with family. Before I began my internship in Chicago, my cousins Job and Allie who previously and currently live in the city offered help with my housing search. Whether they asked friends in the city or offered to look at places since I can’t be there in person, I couldn’t have felt more gratitude for family members who are willing to do their best to help out. Even my cousin Eric has suggested I move to Seattle where he lives or relocate to San Diego so he can move to the southern California city with his family. It’s great to know that cousins always want to make a connection no matter where I happen to be in the world.
In addition to my cousins looking out for me, I find they’re equally fun to make plans with. Whether we go hiking near Salt Lake City, travel internationally together or celebrate one another’s achievements, they’re always great to spend time with. I’m always excited to stumble upon the latest post from one of my cousin’s Instagram business account and I’m eager to see what they’ll be up to next. Speaking of which, what will our next travel adventure be? We’re planning on Cousin Retreat a few years from now in honor of my cousin Amalia’s 21st Birthday. My cousin Keony and I are on the prowl for a great location (huts on the ocean would be ideal). Hopefully we can roast marshmallows there and get a cousin tattoo in honor of our annual Cousin Campouts. Suggestions anyone?