The Cousin Connection

Dara LevanBlog10 Comments

This past week reaffirmed what I have always known to be true: It’s not the quantity of the people in our lives that matter. It is the quality. It is not about the frequency we see or speak to someone we love. It is about the wholeheartedness of the moments we spend with that person. It is the vibe you sense while you’re with them and how you feel after they leave. 

I am writing this post with an abundant, grateful heart. Family from across the country gathered here in Florida to celebrate my sweet nephew. When I was pondering what to share, the theme of family but specifically cousins continually echoed in my mind. Like the wind-blown seeds of a dandelion, cousin love can spread deep and wide.

Last week, I spent a precious two hours with my incredible cousin, Brian. It touched me profoundly that he made time to see me, with barely any notice, while I was in New York City for only 24 hours. It was the first time in nearly 20 years we had one-on-one time. Brian and I had a meaningful, mutual conversation about our lives.

Then another cousin, Sharon, texted a few days ago, and said she’d be in South Florida this week. Like an fresh breeze, gratitude lifted my spirit. This cousin, who I typically only see at family celebrations, cared enough to reach out to me. Our 90 minute breakfast was an invigorating marathon of reflection and honesty.

This week my cousins David and Lori, who live in California, flew across the country to be here for my nephew’s special weekend. Despite a brief, busy trip here, they called me to connect. I could not meet them for dinner as they’d suggested. So they said, “No worries! We will come to you.” And they did. This quick, 30 minute pause in a jam packed, jubilant few days felt like a huge embrace. I’m still basking in the warmth of that visit.

And then Saturday we danced, dined, and laughed with many other family members. What struck me last night for the umpteempth time was the blossoming connections of the next generation. I watched my children giggle and banter with their older and younger cousins. They are developing life-long relationships that are like no other. I also renewed a promise to myself about how important it is that the adults (so bizarre to admit that’s now me and my husband!) foster these connections. 

I also had quality interactions with family members I sadly do not see as often as I’d like due to geographical distance. In stark contrast, there are some family members, who live minutes away, yet they choose not to be present. I don’t feel reciprocal love and the genuine desire from them to participate in my life. I’ve started to accept this reality, and I am pivoting toward those who do.

I am increasingly aware and appreciative of those that make the effort to be engaged, supportive, and present. As our relationships continue to bloom, there are souls who my heart has shifted toward. I feel beams of light and energetic connection when we speak and embrace. It is beautiful and beyond words. 

Cameras and smart phones captured clusters of memories today. Cousins grouped together on the grass for last minute photos. Hugs and phrases like “It was wonderful catching up” and “I hope to see you soon” floated throughout the house. It’s hours later, and I am still soaring with gratitude for my cousins’ presence in my life. Seedlings sprouted and roots grew deeper this week. And my hope for the future is that we continue to nourish and nurture our cousin connections.

10 Comments on “The Cousin Connection”

  1. Another powerful and meaningful depiction about the power of authentic, pure, unconditional love and relationships. Xxoo

  2. What a post this week! The title caught my attention because I grew up very close to my large family. I have many cousins and we are now getting older, making different decisions for our lives and going our separate ways. I can totally relate to everything you wrote. You are so talented. I think some of my cousins would enjoy your words, i’m going to forward the link 🙂

  3. So beautiful. I admire your ability to capture the reality of life’s gifts and describe vividly the disappointments. Keep it coming 🙂

  4. Thank God for emails – caught this late in the week but it brought so many cousin-memories flooding in through walls that time and pain had built. Thank you my Dara. One love. M

  5. Your thoughts and words are so honest and true. Thank goodness for the special people in our lives that take the time to connect with us and often go out of their way to do so. It means they love and care about you. My life is enriched having cousins, friends and family in my life that I love and care about and that feel the same about me.

  6. I love this and am about to forward to my cousins. There is an incredibly special bond. Thank you. Jodi

  7. I loved your story and related it to my own cousin relationships. They are indeed special!

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