Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cousins are cool

My cousin Abi recently joined our company as general manager of and part-investor in our latest venture (to be revealed once things have all been formalized). She's such a welcome presence in the office, because now I have someone whom I can talk to who's technically not an employee, and I finally have some friendly company at work (not that our staff isn't friendly; I just can't be real friends with them, having to maintain that professional distance between boss and subordinate). With Abi around, lunchtime is not as lonely anymore, and store visits aren't as tedious. Thank goodness for cousins.

One of the things I love about coming from a big family (my parents have 6 siblings each) is that I have a lot of cousins. When we were younger, my cousins on my dad's side were always hanging out at our house, since our grandparents lived with us for several years. We never wanted for playmates, from dressing up Barbie dolls to running around in the garden to games of Bluff or Go Fish to marathon mahjong sessions. On my mom's side, it was Sundays at our grandparents' house in Malinta, watching cartoons, playing hide-and-seek, or pretending to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, during my teens, my attachment to my cousins gradually slackened, replaced with barkada bonds that saw me through high school and college.

Now, as I am getting older, my appreciation for my cousins has been renewed and reinforced, and I'm glad for having a grand total of 38 cousins in my life. Some I haven't seen or spoken to in years (where IS Ahia Arnold anyway?), some live in other countries (I have cousins all over the globe), some I go out with occasionally (my girls Joy and Abi), some I correspond with sporadically over YM or text,
some are far older (early 40s) and some far younger (Gillian is only 6!). And though a lot of them may not be part of my present or future, all of them have been part of my past, and for the shared memories, the common roots, the ties that bind, I am grateful.

Here are 10 more reasons cousins are so special:
  1. You know each other's family history, so you don't need to explain certain weird hereditary traits or acquired dysfunctional behavior.
  2. You can be as close as (or even closer than) siblings, but you don't have to live with each other.
  3. When you tell your parents you're going out with cousins, they don't complain that "you're going out AGAIN?" or demand to know what time you'll be coming home.
  4. You can bitch about each other's parents or siblings and not feel as if you're betraying them.
  5. You don't have to dress up or look good for each other.
  6. Money is no object.
  7. It's ok to show them old photographs of you with baby fat, unsightly acne, horrible hair and frightening fashion sense, because they know you have old photos of them looking like crap too.
  8. Your cousins' kids count as your nephews and nieces, but you're not obliged to give all of them gifts for Christmas.
  9. If you do something incredibly stupid (like get gum stuck in your hair) or get in some kind of awful accident (like fracture your arm on Christmas Day), no one will make you feel bad about it... although you will all have a good laugh at your expense about it later, when the crisis is over.
  10. Cousins are the best of both worlds: they're family you can be friends with, or friends who just happen to be family.


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