My Beautiful Cousin & Me on my 28th Birthday, 2009
My cousin Laura and I grew up together. Our moms are sisters and in a family where there are 15 brothers & sisters (my mom is the dead middle child), near 40 grandkids and now 7 great-grandchildren you can always count on someone being there. Laura is my someone. It's impossible to escape our loud, wacky, Irish-Catholic family and, quite frankly, we wouldn't want to have it any other way.
There is a lot I would like to share about Laura and I a lot that is swimming along in my head and heart right now. But I for the past few weeks I have been trying to take my cousin's advice, pulled from our last night out together and a crying/love fest, and focus on the positive. So tonight my list is happy memories spent with the only person I have ever considered a sister. Only a few from our 30 years of laughing with family & friends through seasons and change. But ones I tried to share with her today and am happy to share with the world tonight.
- Sleeping on the twin mattress on my bedroom floor the very first summer my family moved into my house. Laura came for a few days of sleeping over, Barbies and swimming. I remember how hot & sticky it was those summer days but how excited I was that my best friend was here. at my new house.
- Always getting to the food buffet line first. No matter communion, picnic, family reunion, graduation party, Christmas or just get-together. We were no fools and knew that it was key to score a first-dibs spot in line among a family as large as ours.
- Wearing the same dress to our senior prom and not knowing until we saw the picture after.
- Finding abandoned baby birds in the blue spruce outside of her house on Priscilla and trying to nurse them back to health one summer afternoon.
- Whirl pools in her backyard pool. And making her, her sisters & my brother perform water ballet too.
- Laura staying up all night with me during one sixth grade sleepover. I had a terrible earache that eventually ending in a bleeding ear. And she stayed up all night with me, got me a hot water bottle and told me funny stories.
- Playing handball on her street and, being the wuss I always was, crying that my heart hurt. To this day, I have never been able to live this one down.
- Understanding my love/hate relationship with Andy Rooney & actually giving me Andy Rooney's book for my 29th birthday.
- Going to an honest-to-goodness tractor pull.
- Her rallying the troops when my love went away. Shopping & conversations over Chipotle
- Spending big money (not really) at the Rivers Casino.
- Being totally jealous that Laura already had 3 sisters, but never once feeling left out.
- And our last night out together: Margaritas & Mexican, Beers at Six Penn and, most importantly, a late night conversation that lasted until 3 or 4 in the morning. Crying and laughing and talking about life. There is not much a girl without sisters could ask for from a cousin who is one.
So send some love out in the world today, friends. Let's try to do some good. And, remember that kindness and love are the only options we have.