They always say you can't pick your family so you better just deal with them. Yet, the universe hand-picked a group of people that I couldn't have chosen better myself. Your cousins are the best friends you will ever have, as long as you are as lucky as I am to have grown up surrounded by family.
Cousins are the relatives who your parents forced you to see throughout childhood. Who would have thought that these people are the ones you actually want to talk to the most as you grow up? Dinners, drinks, and girls nights are not spent explaining how weird your family is or how hard your life may be at the moment because they already understand you and the uniqueness of your family dynamic. That's the difference between cousins and friends; we spend time with friends to catch up and we spend time with cousins to simply have a good time.
Family members can be two, ten, or fifteen years older than you, but that doesn't hold back the bond that is formed after a childhood filled with memories that were caused accidentally in the midst of having fun. The best friends you meet in school contrast from the ones you meet in your family because they aren't interested in the drama. They knew you when you wet the bed, when you had braces and when you went through your awful fashion sense in your early teens. This doesn't keep your cousins from loving you any less, although they are entitled to make fun of you forever.
Ultimately, the inherent best friends we are given at birth are also going to become our life-long supporters. No matter how great we are doing in life, cousins will always pass on genuine support, rather than becoming jealous or ever wishing things will get harder for us. No matter how hard we are struggling, cousins will be the ones to act as personal cheerleaders who accept every flaw we possess.
I am forever thankful that my parents made the decision to stay close to relatives so I had the chance to make friendships with people who have the same blood as me. I could not imagine a life without the different personalities that make up our family tree, along with their young children who are adding to the branches. No matter how good or bad childhood was, cousins are there to help you remember, help you grow, and help you laugh. Does it get any better than having best friends with the same genes as you?