When I was 7, I was convinced that my 22 year old cousin Dianne was the coolest person on Earth. She's actually my mom's cousin, but given our super small family, we sort of consider everyone a "cousin" even if they're in fact slightly more removed.
Visiting Dianne's side of the family (her parents, my "aunt and uncle," and her brother, my other "cousin") was the best. They lived in Las Vegas after, years before, my uncle had some serious heart problems; he was told if he didn't move away from the harsh winter weather of Cleveland, he'd die within 10 years. So their little family moved away from my uncle's 5 siblings & their families (my grandmother being the relation) to the "up & coming" city out West, Las Vegas.
We always took a yearly trip to visit the family - one that included swimming everyday in their backyard pool, walking around on the strip (visiting the kid's section of the Excalibur if I was lucky), eating my aunt's delicious cooking, hearing my uncle and grandmother use the random Polish words that still lingered in their vernacular, and hanging out with Dianne and her friends. Everything about them was cool in my eyes: they talked to me like I was one of their peers, they dressed awesomely (think bright/tight late 80s-early 90s wear), they had crazy stories about their wild lives, they used very cool terms like "rad," and they were generally just super nice.
Rewind that scenario 15 years: Dianne was 7, my mom was 22, and they had a similar relationship, in that Dianne thought my mom was the most rad person on Earth.
Fast forward to now, Dianne's daughter Halle is about to turn 11, and the cycle has restarted. (No pressure or anything to have a daughter in exactly 4 years to again restart the cycle.) So this past weekend I was in St. Louis where Halle had been visiting my mom for the past 10 days.
It was so fun because I remember what it was like to be young and look up to my older cousin. She and I spent all day Friday (literally, like 7 hours) at the St. Louis Zoo. It was just the two of us and such a wonderful time. She's a super mature, cool little girl - it was actually hard at some moments to remember that she's only 10. We talked a lot about the drama that was 5th grade at her school. And about how she's pumped about 6th grade because they have new school uniforms. And about how she's looking forward to a summer of sleeping in and swimming everyday.
I'm so lucky to actually enjoy the members of my family.
It was a great weekend in St. Louis - probably more to come on that - but it's almost 10pm on Sunday and we're about to go out. Stupid Memphis only getting awesome concerts (The Hold Steady) on school nights...