Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The First Time I Fell In Love Was With My Cousin...

I’m incredibly close with my brother who is 32 months younger than me. But we weren’t always close. When my mom was pregnant, she asked me what I wanted. I wanted a sister. When she called from the hospital to tell me I had a brother, I hung up on her. And then I didn’t speak to her for a week. It pretty much took until he was 17 and I was 19 for us to be in a room together without the imminent possibility of violence on at least one of our parts.

The first person I remember consciously loving was my cousin, Leah. I was four when she was born. She was born in September and I remember that shortly after I got to fly with my Mom to meet her in Pittsburgh and that was it, I loved her. Sometime that year, they came down to visit and my Mom and I took Leah for a walk in her stroller while she told me that she and my dad were splitting up. I remember two things about that walk; first that we walked into a block party and  that I didn’t want anyone to see me crying, and second I  hoped that Leah would never, ever have to feel like I did at that moment.

That walk changed my life forever but what it didn’t change was how I felt about Leah. I still feel that way about her. I feel fiercely protective of her, much the same way I do about Erin.

Having a relative who is a friend is great; it’s someone who understands your crazy because they’re the same brand of crazy. It is a built-in cousin, friend, drinking buddy, bridesmaid, annoyed wife and frazzled mom. It is a guaranteed pick up of a panicked phone call involving any or all of the aforementioned labels. It is the best apple pie making, grasshopper drinking partner you can get.

I feel very lucky to have my cousin be one of my best friends. Through out our lives we’ve been close, at times more so than others. She’s pretty much the smarter, cooler, prettier and funnier version of me…well maybe not funnier. I drove a pick up truck, she drove a nicer one. I bartended, she went to bartending school and bartended better. I like to bake, she was smart enough to go and get her Pastry Certificate. She has always been available when I need her; I’m probably not as good there either. I will always think I should have and could have been a better friend when her mom had cancer.

Our daughters were born within 6 months of each other and though I know Grace was on the top of her baby name list, she took it as a middle name for Ella and let me name one of my daughters after my beloved Grandma. Recently she came down with Ella and all of us girls spent the day downtown together and it is so fun to watch our girls together. I’m so glad that our kids are similar ages and will grow up to love each other the way Leah, Erin, Jenny and I do.

This year hasn’t been her best and maybe it’s a family thing; it has certainly not been a banner year at our house. I don’t think either of us will be sad to see 2010 end but I didn’t want it to end without telling her that she isn’t alone and lots of people think she’s the best, hottest, rockingist, coolest mom/teacher/baker/friend/cousin/wife out there. I love you, Leah.


Jamie said...


I've said it before, and I'm going to say it again...You, my dear, are an amazing writer. I could read your heart-felt narratives all day, every day.
If we don't ever get a chance to hang out in the future, it would make me gloomy. However, I will forever feel blessed to have had you as a friend, even if it seems as though it was for such a short time. Love you, girl!

Kris Harper-Kaminski said...

That's so nice, thank you so much.

cat said...

Great to share those family moments.

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