cousins are more than family — they are your best friends

cousins are more than family — they are your best friends

They were really your first friends, and will be for the rest of your life.

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There is something truly special about the relationships you create with your cousins.

When you think about it, they really are the first kids you get to meet and play with when you're young, besides your siblings-if you have any. It's almost like they help you get ready to make "real" friends for when you go to kindergarten.

I have two older siblings, but they are 12 and 13 years older than me. So even though I wasn't an only child, I kinda sorta grew up like one. Because of this, my cousins were really the ones I remember spending most of my childhood with. My sisters really came in during adolescence when I was moody, awkward, and weird. Sorry guys...

My family and I have always been very close. I don't know if it's an Italian thing, but getting together as much as we could with our entire extended family was a big priority. In my crazy family, we would take a week off in the summer every August to go to North Carolina (OBX).

These vacations were really the highlight of my childhood. When I look back on being little or when someone asks me what my favorite childhood memories are, I always come back to our Outerbanks vacations.

My cousins and I did so much together. We would play at the beach all day. Making sandcastles, riding the waves, burying our uncles in the sand. We would also play whiffle ball at our pool. We would jump into the hot tub then quickly run into the pool and over and over and over again.

When we were really young, we would have a talent show at the end of the week. My sister would choreograph the most epic dances to Britney Spears and Ciara you have ever seen. Our talents included singing, dancing, break dancing, magic, joke-telling, you name it. We were a good-looking and talented bunch.

I'll never forget the nights of bonfires on the beach, watching our parents play poker, taco Tuesday, diving into the pool with my grandparents...

Even as we have grown up though, they are my best friends. Once you get to age 11 or 12 you start to lose interest in pretending you are a salon owner and doing your aunts' nails by the pool. We started reading on the beach with the adults and staying up really late. It was different, but somehow still the same. We would still go to the beach together and come back together. We would make each other lunch and steal each other's snacks. We still played LCR at the kitchen table after dinner. We still danced in the kitchen and went to the beach at night to goof around.

Different but the same.

I know not everyone has great relationships with their cousins. I am extremely lucky. I'm lucky I have so many of them too. But whether or not you consider yourself close to your cousins or family, they will always be there for you as you should be for them.

Who wants to steal another piece of pumpkin bread alone? There is no better feeling than sitting around the piano with your cousins making fun of your relatives who can't sing and opening presents from grandma and pop-pop. Who would you rather dance with at a wedding? Your mom and dad? Or your cousins who you've been dancing with all of your life?

Holidays, deaths, vacations, weddings, births, they will most likely be there right by your side. As they always have been and always will be.

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