Last Sunday we went up to Maine and crowded into my great aunt Lucy’s kitchen to hang out with my mom’s cousins and their kids. The rest of the kids (most of them much younger than me) and my brother and I played Minecraft while the old people chatted and then we all went out to dinner. There were 20 of us in total, so it took quite a while to get our food.
At dinner I ended up sitting next to my six year old cousin Alyssa. She and her brother, Andrew together are gremlins, but on her own, Alyssa is actually pretty mellow. While we were waiting for food, she and I ended up playing games on the kids’ menu, and I noticed that she was left handed, like myself. I think she and I are the only cousins on my mom’s side who are left handed. We’re also the only girls on my mom’s side who are close (my extended family includes over 100 cousins, and Alyssa and I are actually second cousins once removed).
I remember when I was 15 and Alyssa was a baby. I told her that it was up to her and me to keep all these boys in line. She does a pretty good job with her brother at least. Last summer we played a boys vs girls game of Capture the Flag, which ended up being big kids vs little kids by dint of the fact that all the boys in our family happen to be a lot younger, and somehow we lost. It was embarrassing and depressing.
It’s weird to think about, but Alyssa will be 15 when I am 30. Are we going to have anything to talk about? My cousin Nicholas (Dinkens) and I are very close and have things in common, and he’s 9 years younger than me. I’ve never been very girly, though, and he and I have video games and nerdy card games in common. Will Alyssa be into cheer leading? Will she be gushing over boys? What kind of music will she like? I don’t see her nearly enough to ensure that she’ll be
nerdy cool. It seems weird to be almost a generation older than her and not be. I’m going to be ancient by the time she has kids. Then again, I’ll probably be ancient by the time my brother has kids.
As of a few weeks ago I am officially a generation older than one of my cousins. He’s actually my half second cousin. My family is complicated. His mom (my half cousin) is around my age (20). It seems weird to think about even the idea of kids at this point in my life, partly because I don’t want my own, but partly because I have so much going on and so much I want to do. The idea of “settling down” in any way just sounds downright repulsive to me. This is not to say that I blame my cousin in any way. She really wanted a kid, and I’m happy for her.
All these little kids make me kind of crazy sometimes, but I really do love them. I also love that I don’t have to deal with them 24/7. I have a hard time with little kid culture because I’m a snooty intellectual type, but I also remember being a little kid and how insane and awesome it was. Between the ages of 5 and 6 or so, I literally thought I was a dragon. I also had a plethora if imaginary friends, including a black cat, a dragonfly and a pink alien. In middle school my friends and I created an imaginary world that we would explore and hang out in every Friday night. Admittedly, as a junior in college I still do this kind of thing in my head. The whole growing up thing never really appealed to me entirely.
Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!