full up

This past weekend I went to Winston-Salem, NC to a cousin's wedding, on my dad's side. I am not close to this side of my family; my dad having only brothers and brothers are less likely to gather their respective families together often enough for children to form bonds. I do see my cousin A. every Thanksgiving at our house though I don't really know her. She is, however, sweet and kind and so I was happy to go to her wedding. I was, however, happier to also spend time with my Cousin Loves A. and R. from my mother's side.

My mother has two sisters and while both live in different cities in North Carolina, all of our families have grown up together. We have spent almost every holiday together, camping vacations at the beach, and weeks at Lake Norman, NC. My cousin's and I (a total of 3 girls and 1 boy) haven't always been great friends, but we were great playmates growing up. We were around each other so much that it seemed like we were brothers and sisters. We played, we fought, we played again, and then we went to college. When we grew older we became friends. Trips to visit each other and weekly phone calls developed. We became good friends, we were happy our mothers brought us together, we were happy for our Cousin Love. Cousin Love is how we address each other and we do it with a southern drawl. It ends up sounding like "cuzzin luuuuv." It is merely a way to say, "I'm glad you're in my life. I'm glad you’re my cousin and I love you."

Cousin Loves have begun to multiply. There are now wives and soon-to-be husbands and I'm sure there will be children soon too. We welcome the additions and affectionately extend the Cousin Love name. Our children will continue to be cousins though growing more and more distant in a familial since. We know they will grow up together, we hope too that they will develop innocent Cousin Love and see the joy of friendship that we have. We have a tentative plan to save our monies and buy a beach house. We want to name it Cousin Love, but know that the world would think us odd. So, in Spanish it would be "Primo Amor." And in Italian, it also means "first love" and this sounds good to us.

So, this past Friday night, after the rehearsal dinner for A.'s wedding I took my newly found cousin from my father's side over to A. and R.'s house for some quality time. It was fun, good drinks, good conversation. It was like we had all been friends forever. It was what Cousin Love is all about. And my cousin R. from my dad's side blended right in. In fact, we've convinced her to come to Thanksgiving this year, to continue and expand the Cousin Love. The Cousin Love was so good I felt full up, full up of the kind of love that lets your know you have all you need in the world.

The next night at A.'s wedding I sat with my mom and dad, my dad's cousins, one of my dad's brothers, and my cousin R. as we watched A. and B. swish around the room. They did their prescribed wedding things: the first dance as husband and wife, the father-daughter dance, the cake cutting, and the throwing of the garter. As I watched them cut the cake I felt full up again. I felt no envy of A. and B. at that moment. There was no sense that I was missing something. I realized then that I love my family, I love my life, and I am happy. Full up, indeed.

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