Heroes in the Family

Sometimes we totally luck out in the family jackpot. My cousin is one of the sparkling gems of the human experience. We grew up, literally, right next door to each other. Although I was six when she was born, (she was the first baby I ever felt kick in utero– and I still remember he mama’s copper colored shirt beneath my small hand) when we were young we spent a tremendous amount of time together.

Playing the garden oasis of her yard, roller skating, tying plants to ourselves and being Nature Girl, going countless times to Disneyland together, playing flashlight tag and dress-ups- usually with my brothers too. We would go for long bike rides in the late summer, looking for tin cans to recycle and help fund another trip to Disneyland. Much of my childhood is tied to her- and I love those memories.

As we got older, the age difference stretched out, I headed off to college and life, and we didn’t see each other much. But time is funny- it’s plastic and subjective and what was once a wide gulf in our lives is now no space at all. We’ve gotten older, and we are in the same boat- or at least our boats are close again.

As wonderful and amazing a child she was, the woman she has become is astonishing. Recently, she rode her bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money for AIDS research. She works for environmental reform and with Native American tribes all across the west to have better waste management and land protection. Alone, she travelled to Antarctica to spread her beloved grandfather’s ashes, because it was the only continent he had never visited. Last year it was solo trek to Nepal to hike in the Himalayas. She practices what she preaches- her life is her example.

And she is coming to see me on Thursday. From Nepal to the northwest. I know we won’t be nearly as exciting as a Sherpa, but I also know that isn’t why she is coming. When I travel back to California to see my family, I never get to spend more than an afternoon or a dinner with her- and having three days with her is going to be such a luxury.

We are going berry-picking, and hopefully, we’ll make some Jam. We might take in a minor-league ball game on the 4th, or maybe not- I plan on playing it by ear- I just know I am so happy to see her, and for my kids to get to know her better. 

Oh, and my favorite auntie, Crazy Chicken Annie? Her mother. Go figure. I can’t wipe the smile off my face.

4 thoughts on “Heroes in the Family

  1. Hmmm next tuesday….I won’t be in town until late July, maybe then….oh wait,

    Anyhow! That’s pretty neat that she is comong to visit, and you get her all to yourself!

  2. Okay, I have tears running down my face. Thank you for those beautiful words. I love you so much and can’t wait to catch up, play tag with your kids, eat berries right off the plant, and make jam in your kitchen. Two more days!! – Heather

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