When Briar was born, it occured to me that her experience of growing up with cousins would be quite sifferent to mine. Both my mum and dad came from large families (my mum was one of eight siblings, my dad was one of six) so in total I have 23 cousins.
However with the Baby Boomer generation having much smaller families, my fellow Generation Y’s kids will grow up with smaller clusters of cousins. In reality, my children could potentially only have 5 or 6 cousins in all.
I grew up in Alice Springs whilst my cousins grew up spread over the East Coast of Australia. Despite the distance, my parents ensured we had a family holiday out of the NT every year. This meant that whilst I didn’t see my cousins on a weekly basis like some of them saw each other, I did form valuable relationships with them and enjoyed visiting them.
My cousins were important to me and even as a troubled teenager, I enjoyed spending time with my little cousins and babysitting them. Sure, I painted their nails black and let five year old Samantha wear my studded wrist cuffs, but it was still time spent that formed memories I treasure.
So, since the birth of Briar, it has been a priority to me to make time for her to spend time with her cousins. Whilst she won’t remember these visits, the photos are priceless and we ensure we get up to Qld at least once a year to see Clara (Briar and Gabe’s only cousin on the Doble side so far) and Will and Jack (Briar and Gabe’s cousins on the Traynor side).
Whilst my kids might only have a small number of first cousins, they do have plenty of second cousins. We spent a week in Melbourne last year with my cousin Andreas family and Briar adored her “big cousins”; Andreas son and daughter Jaymes and Tahneesha. I have a much younger cousin Hugh, and he and Briar have had a great time playing each time we’ve seen him. Just this weekend past, our stop over in Melbourne involved a wonderful catch up with the Fraser family and Hugh and Briar had a brilliant time together.
One of the unexpected blessings of the day of Gran Allen’s funeral was the time spent with all the children of Warwick’s cousins. There are a whole tribe of kids about Briar’s age and she had a wonderful time playing with them. It wasn’t a happy occasion to get together, however small children always find joy in every circumstance and watching the next generation, GG’s great-grandchildren, play together one the lawns is a memory I’ll treasure.
As parents, I hope we can create oppurtunities for these kids to know each other so they too may value the special relationships cousins can create.