Nobody close this time. Just one of thousands (well, dozens) of first cousins my mother knew well, growing up – to whom I somehow never got introduced. My mother was the youngest of her generation, so although she is only 65, this cousin was almost 80.
I grew up hearing stories of how busy, how active, how exciting it was to be part of her family. Everybody in each others’ homes, cottages, shuls, rich-people overnight camps… well, constantly. Like brothers and sisters, but not quite: like cousins.
How badly I wanted a family like that.
Instead, we ended up with a few intermittently (dis)interested relatives on each side; a couple of withering, forgotten branches on what I always sensed was a once-mighty family tree.