I have three first cousins on my dad’s side. Until the age of ten, they lived close enough to see on holidays and birthdays. But then they moved hundreds of miles away. It was crushing to face family gatherings without them.
Two years later my first cousin on my mom’s side was born. The twelve-year age difference hardly mattered. I was smitten.
Within five years my cousin—and her younger sister—moved even farther away than my first set of cousins. Hundreds of miles seemed paltry compared to the thousands of miles and large ocean between us.
But times were changing. It was my senior year of high school and the international move prompted my parents to get a dial-up modem. We had Internet access at home. The move didn’t feel quite so disconnecting. We had semi-instant access through computers. And they came back to visit. I watched my cousins grow in time-lapse increments.
When they were in elementary school and I was almost done with college, I went to visit them. We spent a glorious week together before I backpacked on to other locales.
And now they are here. College students themselves. The years of separation don’t matter. Some bonds simply are. Nurturing and proximity help, but they withstand neglect and time. When my cousins on my dad’s side arrive for weddings and funerals, the decades melt away.
Cousins—same roots, same collective memory, same family—the ones I fall seamlessly in step with for whichever legs of the journey we’re able to walk together.
This post is part of the 31 Days: Family series. Read the beginning, and see a full index of posts, here.