When most people think of July holidays, Independence Day naturally comes to mind, but there’s a lesser-known holiday that is very important to our family: July 24 is National Cousins Day.
As I’m writing this post, I’m listening to my five-year-old son squeal with delight as he feeds catfish with his three older cousins. Being an only child, our little bit cannot get enough of his cousins when we visit their shared grandparent’s house. They are his weekend/holiday/vacation siblings, but because they don’t have to live with each other all the time, they get on each other’s nerves less often than siblings tend to do. These are magical moments that will no doubt turn into fond memories that they talk about in years to come.
I know because as an only child myself, some of my favorite childhood memories are times I spent with my own cousins. As a kid, they were the live-in playmates I didn’t have but requested to live with if something happened to my parents.
As a teenager, they were my confidants, always there to give advice that the big brother or sister I always wanted presumably would have given.
As a young, newly independent adult, they were the ones whose houses I crashed at, who I went to concerts with, and who helped me out when I didn’t want to call my parents.
As a 40-something adult, they are the ones who help keep my dad’s memory alive, who share my memories of holidays at our gram’s house, and who would raise my child as their own should anything happen to me.
And apparently, this bond I feel with my cousins is not unique. I grew up hearing how my mom spent more time with her cousins than her brother while on vacation. My husband tells similar stories of summers spent on the lake with his cousins. And my mother-in-law is so close to one of her cousins, they might as well be sisters.
Cousins may start out as playmates, but often they turn into the best of friends. They are also, as an unknown soul said so wisely, “a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.”
To all the cousins who made childhood more fun, happy National Cousins Day!