Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Another cousin...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My cousin is coming for a visit today and is staying through Saturday. Joni and I grew up together. My dad has two brothers and a sister. He was closest with his sister, Joan, who was Joni's mother. Plus, Joni & I were close in age (just over a month a part.) So, we were constantly thrown together on family trips and reunions. Sometimes when my parents had lengthly plans, I would go stay with my aunt's family. My aunt was a VERY large woman. Close to 6' and very stocky. She was a nice woman, but not really the huggy/lovey dovey type.  At least not in my memory. 

Joan was the apple of my grandparents' eyes and by extension, so were her children. In our minds (whether real or perception) Joni and her brother Max, were treated just a little better and recieved more attention than the rest of us. There was a lot of resentment in my family over this. It was so interesting to learn years later that there was a perceived hierarchy of sorts. Other cousins thought that my brother Scott & I received preferential treatment as well. At least that is how some people felt. Who knows, it could very well be true. In the end, no one was super happy.

My Aunt Joan died when Joni & I were seniors in high school. In my mind, Joni had always been spoiled and I didn't like her because I felt like she was a liar, cheat and thief. HAHA! Nice, huh?  We were babies, but that is how I felt. But when she lost her mom, I reached out. I don't remember it exactly, but I do remember that I felt rebuffed and she seemed to push the entire family away. Again, all of this is one-sided perspective and coming from a teenager who was probably pretty spoiled herself. :-)

After that, I think Joni & I saw each other only a couple of times. We were cordial, but there was tension.

Some of you may remember that my grandmother passed away in May. It was sad because she had pushed everyone away to the point that she was mostly alone when she died. I loved my grandmother, but I didn't like her much. I did learn how I didn't want to treat my family, so I guess there is that.

Anyway, Joni (along with all the cousins) came to the funeral. It was like she was a completely different person. She had brought old pictures of the family, even as far back as our parents' childhood. She was absolutely delightful! At that point, I realized that bygones were bygones. I was probably a twerp when I was growing up too. Family is family and there shouldn't be room for silly ancient grudges. Instantly, I tossed it all away.

Last week she contacted me and said that she is working in Houston for a few months and wanted to come for a visit. Just a year ago, I would have scoffed at anyone that would have said I would be looking forward to a visit from her. But I totally am!

This journey of mine has truly changed me as a person. I want to be happy and it is very hard to be happy when you hold onto pain, judgement and anger. As far as I'm concerned, a new path for our friendship begins. And I couldn't be happier!!

Have a great day everyone!!

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