Saturday, April 16, 2011


I have cousins...lots of them...over 60 in fact.  Mum was the fifth of 14 kids, and Dad was the first of five.  Most of them live on Canada's east coast, while I'm out here in the prairies.  Most of them I wouldn't know if I fell over them but there are a few that I used to have regular contact with since we were babies together.  Today I decided to see if I could find any of them on Facebook.  No such luck - mainly because I don't know most of the girls' married names.  So I decided to Google those I knew best.  My first hit was lucky - a cousin whose family I spent a summer with when I was 17, and whom I've seen a few times in the past 40+ years, popped up.  I emailed her and hope she has time to reply.

Lloyd has contacted several of his long-lost cousins on Facebook and is really enjoying reconnecting with them.  I decided I'd like to do the same.

It got me thinking about the whole cousin relationship.  Although my sister and I grew up together, our children did not.  They know one another but didn't see each other enough during their growing years to develop close friendships with them, and now that our kids have spread out so much, chances of getting together are few and far between.  Lloyd's siblings and their kids all live in Alberta so our kids see them more often.  It's interesting though that now that they're all grown up, whenever some cousins happen to get together the family bond reasserts itself and everyone connects on a very elemental familiar level.
My Kids and Wendys - 1982
My kids and Wendys - 1986
I have that same connection with a few of my cousins - one on my Dad's side in particular who I hadn't seen in over 25 years.  We re-connected at Dad's funeral 18 years ago and immediately renewed the friendship we had as kids.  We still exchange Christmas cards and greetings. 

My McCarthy Cousins. I'm on the far left and the cousin I referred to above is on the far right.

My sister and I had a special relationship with our cousin Sharron.  She was born in May 1946, Wendy was born in May 1947 and I was born in May 1948.  We'd go visit them in Nova Scotia every year and our mothers would dress us alike, put ringlets and bows in our hair, and take pictures.
Sharron, Wendy and Pat 1951

 We always kept in touch with that family of cousins (there were 2 boys as well) and took pictures whenever we were together, although we stopped dressing alike and wearing bows in our hair.

Sharron, Wendy and Pat - 1986
Now I see my grandkids as 20 cousins developing different relationships with one another.  Although I'd like them always to be close, I know from experience that interests and locations, jobs and experiences will separate them and they'll gradually lose touch with one another to a certain degree.  It's inevitable but kind of sad.

My grandkids - cousins and siblings - 2008

But that's what family reunions are for, isn't it.  Maybe it's time to have one with the extended family.  Just don't make me organize it!


Wendy said...

Ah, come on, Pat. You could organize it - you'd do a great job! I'd love to come - I know my kids would too. :)

Sara said...

Do it, Mum!

Kath said...

My very best friend is my cousin. We have been best of friends forever. My children do not have that connection with their cousins which is sad. Too opposite of interests I guess.
Go for the reunion...rope all your kids in to help you!!
Hope you have more success finding your long lost cousins on FB!

Anonymous said...

I will plan it if everyone will come to BC! -Mary