G is for Growing Up.
I went to my cousin L’s wedding in Texas this weekend. I reunited with all my cousins, aunts, uncles, and my grandma. We had a grand old time, dancing the night away, celebrating this stage of my cousin’s life. And as I sat there at our table, watching my younger cousins who were once so little, I realized we have all grown up way too fast. I almost couldn’t believe my youngest cousin, C, was able to order alcohol at the bar, and my second-youngest cousin, H, also. And my other cousin, T, has a wife now, and they have a son who’s not even 2 years old yet. Where did the time go?
I remember H wearing mismatching socks and cat ears for years when she was little, scowling in photos and throwing temper tantrums. I remember we used to have talent shows. We’d rehearse dances and songs and then put them on for our parents. L and I were both in dance classes (me in Colorado), and we’d choreograph dances to our favourite pop songs. The boys, T and D, would make music or sing. I also remember spending time with T in San Antonio. I was a bit of a tomboy sometimes, so we would horse around, build things with Legos or Lincoln Logs, climb trees…
I remember feeling very jealous of these cousins growing up. I was jealous that they had each other and they were so close in proximity. I always had wanted siblings, and I wished I could have what L, D, and H had, even if they squabbled as siblings do. I was jealous because my female cousins never seemed to struggle with weight like I did and were athletic and sporty. All of the cousins had grown up going to church, which to me meant they had a community outside of their family and something they could believe in without questioning. I hadn’t been raised with something like that, and my parents hadn’t forced me to do anything like play sports. I did figure skating and gymnastics when I was younger, and I took dance classes, and I did play softball and volleyball in middle school for a while. But my parents weren’t as involved in my extracurricular activities as my aunts and uncles were in my cousin’s. Probably because my parents weren’t getting along for most of my childhood and this caused a rift in our lives in general.
Things have really changed. My cousins and I have been as close as we could growing up in different parts of the country, but even with Facebook it can be hard. Seeing them at the wedding made me realize how much I had missed since I’d gotten out of high school. My cousins all stayed in Texas for college, and I left the country. After starting university, I saw them a few times, but not as often as I did growing up. So we grew apart, as we grew up. Not only that, but my life has unfolded in ways I never thought it would, and in ways very different from my cousins’ lives.
I suppose when we grow up, we change as people, and our circumstances change, but who we are at the core of our beings doesn’t have to. I think that if I were to sit down with all my cousins, if we went through our memories together, we would feel just as close as we did when we were kids. We would know we’re adults now, that we have responsibilities, and that we may not agree on many things. But we’re still family, and we still care about each other. Just because we grew up doesn’t mean we’re not always going to be “the cousins.” It will be interesting to see how our lives transpire.
I think the following poem by e.e. cummings is a beautiful representation of growing up. I read this poem as saying if things had turned out differently, we wouldn’t be who we are today, in the places we are today, doing the things we are today, and we wouldn’t have met the people we have:
by e.e. cummings
if freckles were lovely, and day was night,
and measles were nice and a lie warn’t a lie,
life would be delight,-
but things couldn’t go right
for in such a sad plight
i wouldn’t be i.
if earth was heaven, and now was hence,
and past was present, and false was true,
there might be some sense
but i’d be in suspense
for on such a pretense
you wouldn’t be you.
if fear was plucky, and globes were square,
and dirt was cleanly and tears were glee
things would seem fair,-
yet they’d all despair,
for if here was there
we wouldn’t be we.
***This post is part of the Blogging from A-Z April challenge. Starting with A, every post in April will be about a topic starting with a letter of the alphabet, consecutively. For more information, please visit the official page.***