The children in the photo above are Girl Cub and her beautiful cousin.
Spending time with the two of them always reminds me of the relationship I had with my cousin, Diane. For the first seven years of our lives, we spent practically every weekend and holiday together. Our mothers were first cousins and we lived a short distance away from each other.
Summers were always spent together. Diane had a big backyard, complete with a swing set, pool, and the most glorious wheeping willow tree I have ever seen.
At age seven, my mother unexpectedly passed away. We moved over an hour away to live with my grandparents. It seemed like another universe altogether. My late Uncle John, sweet soul that he was, would pick-up my brother and I every friday after work. He would drive us back at 4:30am on a Monday morning, just so us cousins could be together again.
I guess we did this for a few years. Then things got hard and my aunt and uncle separated and sold the house. We all struggled. Life went on and on as it will do. We were out of touch for too many years. I lost her, my cousin, my sister.
When I was in my early twenties, I received a phone call from my cousin, Diane. She told me that she would be getting married and asked if I would be her Maid of Honor.
I got to stand beside her on that day, in the place we both knew I belonged.
I will never forget this act of love she showed me. She had remembered me and remebered how things would have been if life hadn't pulled us in different directions.
We are forever connected by blood and memory.