“Cousins are usually the first friends we have as children. No one will understand your crazy family like your cousins do. No matter how long it’s been, cousins can pick up where you left off. They are your heart, your soul and understand you better than anyone.”
All of my cousins have a special place in my heart. Cousins can offer an outside perspective that parents and siblings often can’t. I am fortunate enough to have the greatest cousins ever, in particular an older cousin who has become my big sister over the last 13 years.
At 10 and 13, neither of us were sure of anything. We were young and impressionable, without any care in the world. We spent the majority of our weekends together, took vacations together and grew up side by side, there for each other whenever necessary. Now at almost 23 and newly 26, life certainly has changed, I’d like to think for the better.
As kids, we were too mature for our age, over-thought things and were hypersensitive. As adults, those qualities are still there but we’ve grown up and learned to manage ourselves, each other and our families. I’ve seen Amanda grow up, be successful (the girl is already getting her second Master’s degree!), fall in love and genuinely be happy, a foreign concept for us at 18. She works hard and has earned the right to be happy and to live her own life; that’s kind of difficult with our family. I am constantly inspired by my cousin, her ability to fight for the things she wants and the way she lives every day to the fullest.
As we grew up, things that we couldn’t control changed. Our once seemingly perfect family has changed It has been a challenge to stay sane and keep our relationship grounded. But, from a young age, we stood by the ‘no matter what’ principal. No matter who said what, no matter what happened, we trusted one another. Today, that hasn’t changed. It’s something we believe in and will follow forever.
There are so many songs that have turned into anthems for Amanda and I. The list is long and continues to grow. However, one song consistently reminds me of my cousin and of everything she’s taught me. There have been so many lessons learned but most importantly, Amanda has taught me to live everyday, to make myself happy first and to not waste it.