First Cousins-First Friends

First cousins are some of the first friends you have.  It can be a wonderful relationship that is made up of countless memories. Cousins are probably the only ones who know how crazy your family is, all the drama that takes place and the inside gossip.  You don’t have to be embarrassed in front of your cousins when your parents are yelling at you because chances are they are getting yelled at as well.

Both my parents are the eldest in their families, which means my sister and I are one of the oldest amongst the children on both sides.  I even have cousins who are younger than my  3 year old son.  They call me what the rest of my younger cousins call me, “bajo”.  I treat them just like I treat my son, like babies! I would consider them more of my son’s cousins than mine.

Then theres a group of cousins who fall into the ‘cool-young’ category, the group that you actually feel young and hip around (or at times the opposite).  It was even cool to see the younger ones transform from cute to annoying to super cool. (i.e becoming class president, having meetings with NYC mayor etc)

What  makes cousins even more special is if they are close in age.  I had a few cousins that were very close in age and with them we have had the best of times.  There was this one time where the five of us (4 girls and 1 boy) wanted to watch a movie, we all rented a movie of our own choice and had a grand movie marathon.  Turns out one of the movies was ‘adult-rated’, of course we immediately turned it off and ended up getting stomach pains from the non-stop laugher.

For me, my cousins were the only people who I had childhood slumber parties with.  Our slumber parties would consist of quietly listening to bollywood music, watching movies, Monopoly, Kings, Antakshari, Name-Place-Animal-Thing (such a long name for a game!), and of course card games such as spit, rummy and spoons.  We also recorded ourselves doing silly dances and singing songs.

Unfortunately one thing i’ve noticed is that these ties between cousins often get damaged because of family drama. Parents should not let their issues get in the way of their children and nieces/nephews.  Making cousins feel that they are competing against each other leaves children/adolescents feeling jealousy, bitterness and hostility towards each other.  Creating this distance means your children won’t get to experience some of the best times in their lives with some of the best friends they will ever have.

I feel it is more important for us to be closer to our cousins now a days since we have such small families. I know in our parents generation we had four aunts and three uncles which meant big family bashes.  But since people are having less kids, this means our family Eid get togethers would only consist of one other aunt or uncle.  This is why we need to maintain our ties of kinship, so our family get togethers consist of 1st 2nd and even 3rd cousins.

This past Eid was one of the first Eids after a very long time that all the cousins were there.  Due to marriages, colleges, work and conflicting schedules Eids aren’t always spent together.  This Eid there was a total of 19 cousins ranging from the ages of 10-31.

There is a special bond between cousins and I would hope that Eesa gets to enjoy with his cousins the same way I have. I can already foresee my son and his two cousins-Hasan and Ali having a blast together insha’Allah, I can also foresee a lot of trouble, ruckus and mischief.

May Allah SWT make our bonds of kinship strong and everlasting.  Ameen