I hate my cousin Amy…
I came across this picture recently and it is absolutely priceless. That is a 4 year old me next to my cousin Amy’s birthday cake. How rude that it is her birthday and not mine! My face says it all. It’s that childhood face that cannot lie: no, I’m not glad it’s Amy’s birthday and that all the presents are for her. I want it to my birthday and I want the presents. That look of jealousy over Amy was standard for me. Amy was always cooler than me. She still is. My brother and I spent a great deal of time at my Aunt Suzie’s house growing up, and Amy and her sister Megan were our constant companions. In my memory, being at Aunt Suzie’s were some of the best times of my childhood. Amy and Megan were fun, creative, and always had something different or unique to do. We played and played and played back then, before the internet or video games took the place of board games and reading books.
One of the things I loved to do with my cousins was to listen to relaxation tapes. I think that’s what they were. We would all lie down amidst the piles of stuff in Amy & Megan’s shared room (which I loved!) and listen to tapes that transported us to faraway places. I remember the tapes teaching me how to relax from head to toe and it is a feeling I have carried with me through the years. I wish I still had those tapes, but no, those belonged to my cool cousins. I am forever in awe of how fun and creative both Amy and Megan are, and I’m envious. Amy, who is just a few months younger than I am, is also a writer. I’m a ‘grown up’ now, so I’m past the point of feeling the sting of jealousy when she is better or more creative, I just feel joy. I’m so happy that I have her, and all of my cousins, and so hopeful that she writes and continues to find joy in that. I’m thankful that we share a similar love of reading and writing, and a childhood that was far from perfect. We used our imaginations to turn bedrooms into distant lands, tortured her older brother Rick who had to babysit us from time to time (even the ways we got in trouble with him were creative!), and read books that took us on great adventures.
All of my cousins are pretty awesome. They are teachers, lawyers, scientists, journalists, nurses, builders, writers, etc. They are all smart and they are all funny. The best part about having them is how we all support and encourage each other. My life would never be as much fun without them. They inspire me every day.