I mentioned earlier that I am a cousin. I’m not just any cousin, I’m the oldest cousin on both sides of my family. Again, I’m not the typical oldest cousin, I’m the proudest (I really don’t care if that’s not a word) biggest cousin there is. I have 2 sisters and 14 cousins. We’ll discuss my sisters in another post; let’s focus on the extended family today.
I chose this topic because today is my cousin’s birthday, well at least one of them was born today. Everyone has their “things,” and mine is remembering birthdays. I know each one of my cousins’ birthdays, and don’t even need a calendar to remember them. Don’t ask me how old they are though…I don’t do years. I have cousins all over the country. Actually, let me rephrase that, I have cousins all over the world. My cousin, C, is in Rwanda. Today is his birthday. C is awesome; he is in Rwanda as a Peace Corp member. He left the US in September, and will be gone for 27 months. We are all extremely proud of him. Because of him, the world and all it’s problems seem to pale in comparison to some of the more fundamental problems the people of Rwanda are facing. C will be teaching English, but will also be helping with the HIV/AIDS education in a small village that has finally seen it’s first Peace Corp volunteer.
I don’t intend on listing all of the wonderful qualities about each of my cousins, at least not tonight. Sometimes I’m not very good at making sure that people who look up to me know that I look up to them too. I have a few cousins, aside from C, who have traveled outside of the US to help people who need more than they can give. One of my cousins in Seattle, traveled to the Dominican Republic for a service project in high school. She and some other classmates started an organization to help supply women with sanitary products. Turns out, something we buy each month is worth it’s weight in gold in other countries. If you’d like more information, please email powerprojectDR@gmail.com, or visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Power-Project/123438167701879?sk=info
I have three cousins who live in Grand Rapids Michigan. Because of our distance, I don’t see them as often as I’d like. In June, Annie and I flew to GR to help celebrate S’s high school graduation. I had planned this trip well before Annie was born. Being in GR and representing our family was beyond important to me. So many of their friends were impressed that I had made the trip, but there wasn’t anything keeping me from being there. I’ll be back in GR in 2013 for N’s graduation party, I swear.
I grew up approximately 3 miles from C, R, J, and J. So many of my childhood memories include them. I’ll never forget R’s 2-year old face when a crane was lifting pieces of their house from the ground through the air and on to the foundation. Young J loves Annie, and calls her “my girl.” C is going to change the US educational system, and I couldn’t be more proud of her. She also has a banging body from all the Zumba classes she teaches. Older J is the smartest person I know, and if he ever wins a Noble Peace Prize, I want a cut 🙂
Each accomplishment by each cousin is a big deal in my book, and deserves recognition. I am the proudest biggest cousin there is, and I can’t wait to help celebrate and document each milestone!
I’ve had a good week, but I’m ready for it to be over. We have no plans for the weekend, aside from the normal routine (pancakes, family gym outing, laundry, etc.), and I am really looking forward to it.