Monday, June 25, 2007

The Cousin Race

Cousins are a curious thing.

The May Queen's relationship with her cousin began long before she was born. In fact, it began the day that I called my brother and sister-in-law to tell them that we were expecting. My SIL said nothing for a while, then "Did your Mom tell you?" "Tell me what?" Another long pause, before I said "You're pregnant, too?!" Turns out we even had the same due date. And thus began the race to be the first grandchild.

The Cousin won that race, being born early, while The May Queen hunkered down for another two weeks in my womb (there's a story for another day...)

They are both blond hair, blue eyed cuties who have been mistaken for twins, although not so much now as they are getting older. We spent their infancy comparing (if only silently to ourselves) how quickly they rolled, walked, talked, ate, etc.

They only get to see each other once or twice a year, as The Cousin lives in Michigan, and The May Queen in Louisiana (and before that, California). They love each other, in that weird childhood way of barely knowing each other but knowing that they are related. They are very excited to get to see each other, probably because we build up the idea to them.

Today they spent the day together at the beach, and I wonder if this is what sibling rivalry is like. The May Queen has to be first at everything, and will pull little tricks to try to make this happen, and then smirk when she wins (even if no one is playing along... she does this with EVERYONE) She is clearly more of a leader and take charge gal. The Cousin, on the other hand, is very sensitive, and will easily cry at every perceived injustice, real or not. They lobby for Oma's attention (Oma is my mother, it's German for Grandma) as if getting to sit by Oma at the picnic table were the equivilent of being invited to Cinderella's ball. They fight over how they might be able to, or not able to, share the books on the car ride home, WHEN WE ARE NOT EVEN ANYWHERE NEAR TO GETTING IN THE CAR. It feels like a constant struggle for us adults to keep the peace.

And yet...

The Cousin very sweetly shared her puppy dog with May Queen in the car. And when The Cousin felt worried about slipping on the walks in the water, the more sure footed May Queen took her hand and led her to shore. And later at home the two girls were giggling over a puzzle together as if they were the best of friends.

I will probably never have to navigate the waters of siblings from my parental role, but I imagine this must be what it is like. Just when you are at the end of your referee rope, they join the same team. At least for a few minutes.


jen said...

oh..i don't think i'll get to navigate siblinghood either..but i do long for some cousins.

Pinks & Blues Girls said...

Oh.... I have lived in the cousin world a long time now!! My 6 year old nieces are exactly the same way. It's so funny to see b/c they both have brothers, no sisters... and to see them interact, it's just like they were sisters. It's very cute, I must say!!
Love your blog!!
- Audrey
Pinks & Blues Girls

nomotherearth said...

I guess I'll find out soon enough - I'm sure hoping that they end up joining the same team.

BTW, The Boy and my niece are about 8mths apart, and still I compare them in my head (that's what happens when her mother is constantly sending you pictures titled "The Cutest Baby EVER!". Um, I have a baby too..)

Naw, I'm not jealous.

Magpie said...

My child won't have siblings, but she's lucky to have three cousins - two a little older, one younger. (And two who are much older and live on the other coast, and we never see them.) But the nearby close-in-age cousins all get along splendidly - it's lovely to watch.

Christine said...

My sister is going to have a baby soon, so there will finally be a cousin! As kids, my sister and I had such a close relationship with our cousins despite the fact that we only saw them but once a year.

thirtysomething said...

They especially love to join the same team against...yep you guessed it--mom.I feel you, the pre-arguments to the real argument against a situation that even has yet to occur or better yet, may not even occur at all!
Strange creatures, these little people, but it is a can't live with 'em or without 'em kinda thing...glad the MQ had a splendid time though, it is a cute thing to watch--the interactions.

Anonymous said...

Two is truly double the pleasure, double the trouble. Mine will flash between playing together and flaying each other more quickly than I can react. Hopefully, as they're opposite sexes, the teen years won't be much worse.

niobe said...

Having a cousin (my only cousin!) close to my age was a wonderful experience. For many years, we lived very close to one another. Now, she's moved away and bad things have happened to her and I never see her at all.

The May Queen and The Cousin sound like they complement each other in so many ways. They're lucky to have each other, even if only once or twice a year.

ewe are here said...

The May Queen and The Cousin sound a lot like sisters... hot and cold together.

I think the hot and coldness between siblings is due to familiarity and the adults around them, plus some basic personality differences we all have. My boys have oodles of cousins on my husbands side and they all got along pretty damn well last summer. It's the grandmothers that kind of have a friendly rivalry about how each's own grandchildren are stacking up... although they love all the kids. Rather amusing, really. The parents (including my and my husband) could care less - love them all!