You expect to know all your family members from a young age, especially your cousins. The fact that your parent and theirs both share the same parent makes it seem as if it’s completely out of the question to not be familiar with someone who has that much family in common. But siblings aren’t always close, some move while others grow distant and the family you are supposed to know isn’t always right there with you. They don’t know you, they’ve never gotten used to your weird quirks, or figured out those things that only family knows. They are family, but they aren’t family quite like you’d imagined. 

When I first recall meeting four of these cousins of mine, they caught me off guard. It’s hard to be comfortable with someone you don’t understand, and having family that’s grown up in a different culture than you takes some getting used to. In this situation, I had a cousin I didn’t really get along with right away, another who was friendly right off the bat, one who was extremely hyper, and the other who took well to the family. Four cousins I hadn’t met before, and all of a sudden, they were family. 

Jeremy, the oldest, was very into science. He was and still is quiet sharp, but at the time, it made it hard to relate to him. We only really started getting along after a new years resolution he had thought up to be nicer to each other. I agreed, but we still had a few disagreements here and there, both possessing strong views that we’d try, and fail to change the others opinions on. He and I still don’t agree on much, but when it comes to family, I don’t think it really matters as much what they believe in as it does who they are. 

Zoltan, the one I always seemed to get along with best. He was also smart, like his brother, but a bit more sociable. He had his own ideas about things, politics seemingly always coming up in conversations between he and my dad. They’d go back and forth, like Jeremy and I would, about their differing opinions. Nevertheless, life happens, and opinions don’t matter as much as family. He’s now living life in another state. Last I heard he worked at some hotel in Colorado, but I’m told that’s changed. The last time I saw him, I was in college, on a shopping trip with some floor mates when I came across a familiar face. It’s been too long, but life happens, and people get busy, and sometimes you just have to wait for that sporadic ‘bumping into’ at the mall on an otherwise normal Saturday. 

Sean and Emma were the two youngest. Sean was hyper, but like Jeremy, really advanced in science. Emma was quiet, but extremely sweet. That little blonde girl is now in high school, and it is so weird to think about. Sean had a sense of humor, while Emma had a soft spoken way about her. They are both growing up much too quickly, the image of two little kids still clear in my mind. 

No matter how far away they live, or how many years it’s been since you’ve seen them, family is still family. You don’t have to know everything about your cousins to love them for the people they are. With family, you just love them for being yours. 

So to the ones who live in another state, I hope time brings us closer. To the ones who changed dramatically from the ones they were, I hope I get to see the person you grew up to be. To the ones who are busy with life, I pray someday, there’s more time.

I love you all, 

Melissa

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