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Australia

Cousins are Important

Last night we got together with the cousins on Andrew’s side of the family. We enjoyed a collection of food of magnificent proportions that grew as each carload arrived through the front door to make their contribution. The stars of the night were Uncle Neil’s lamb chops, Sister Sarah’s scalloped potatoes, Cousin Megan’s roasted pumpkin and pinenut salad, Auntie Jan’s brown rice medley and Nana’s  homemade lemon merangue pie.

We gathered around the table with sisters and cousins and aunties and uncles and nanas. We talked about what we have done since we were last together and some of the heartbreak. We talked about cats, dogs and chickens, a common theme among Andrew’s relations. We talked of nothing mind-blowing or world-changing. We joined with people we were stuck with. People connected by blood and marriage. We did not choose to be related but we chose to be at the table together.

Outside, in the back garden, was the next generation of cousins. Why outside? Because they chose it. After 5 minutes of “Bohemian Rhapsody” being sung at full volume by cousins of mixed musical ability, we understood why it was good they were outside and wondered what the neighbours must be thinking.

Cousins are important.

Most of the cousins, from last night, will be joining us for our family outing to the Perth Zoo. Once it was all decided and the meeting place and time were set they must have remembered that they forgot to invite the parents.

I am sure they will have a great time.

You know, cousins are a big part of why we took this flying part of our trip. Our kids had cousins they have not met. That should not be.

Cousins are important.

The biggest heartache of last night was talk of one of the cousins who married a woman who has severed ties with the family. A nana that will never see her grandchildren. Cousins that will never meet

Cousins are important.

I was closest to my cousin, Terre. Her parents had split up and she was making life difficult for Aunt Fran. Terre came to live with us in high school where my mom snapped her into shape. Anyone who knows my mom can effortlessly imagine this, I am sure. I am so glad that Terre came to live with us for those years. It has been so nice to see her grow from troubled teen, to beautiful young woman, faithful wife and doting mother.

My cousin, Terre, died of cancer last night. I was woken up by a tap on the shoulder from an unknown source at the moment of her death.

She is survived by her husband Mitch, together for 29 years, her  boyscout son, John, and she just missed her daughter, Ruby, becoming a teenager.

Cousins are important.