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Friday, August 8, 2008

Friends & Family Friday: My Little Cousin

I say My Little Cousin because our Grandmother used to refer to her like that and it kind of stuck. It's my cousin, Jennifer and this post could get seriously long. It's a good thing I have to limit it to 10 items. Hmmmmmmm. Where to begin?? Memories??? So many. Too many. This is the person, other than my parents, who I have known longer than any other in my life. She's two years younger than me and we were inseperable since she was born. DISCLAIMER: We know MANY embarrassing things about each other, so out of respect ( and fear of what she might do/say) I will not mention any of those particular items.

1. I don't have a sister (or a brother). Jenn's the closest thing I've got to a sister. In so many ways, I think she was better than a sister growing up because when we got sick of each other, we could just go home. But seriously, I am so thankful to have her in my life. We grew up living about a mile apart and were together as much as possible. We went on trips together, swam together every day in the summers, went to the same schools, even "dated" one or two of the same boys (uh hem . . . who I'm sure we'd BOTH like to forget). As adults, we live about 5 hours apart, but we talk every couple of days, if not more. I can tell her anything. She was the matron on honor in my wedding, as I was in hers. I had Matthew, and a year later, she had her twin boys. She's still the closest thing I have to a sister, and I can't imagine my life without her.

2. I mentioned that we swam a lot in the summers. I mean we swam A LOT. We swam at the Town Club almost every day, and at Lake Meredith on our Grandpa's boat. We pretended, quite often, that we were synchronized swimmers in the Olympics and came up with quite amazing routines. I'm saying we were good, people. I'm sure it was quite entertaining for all watching us, and not for the reasons that we thought, but we laughed and had more fun that you can imagine. I will never forget the one-eyed squinty look she gets in the swimming pool. About 10 years ago, we went to Cancun for a long weekend. We acted like we were 8. We swam all day, jumped in the waves, laughed, and were in bed by 8 almost every night.

3. When we are together, we laugh. We can look at each other and laugh. Seriously laugh. Like, wet-your-pants-laugh. Laugh laugh laugh. I'm laughing just thinking about how we laugh. Not really, but I could. A couple of weeks ago, I was driving down the road, talking to her on the phone, when she reminded me of a certain midget incident (sorry . . .little person) that happened when we were Christmas shopping last year. I had to pull over. I was laughing so hard I was crying.

4. She is one of those people in my life who I can communicate with--have entire coversations--with a look. We don't even need to talk. We can just look and KNOW.

5. We have a few unspoken rituals. When we sleep together, the last person in bed turns out the light. This goes way back to childhood. We once both jumped in bed at the same time because neither one of us wanted to be the last one in bed (the one to turn out the light). We were both so stubborn that we slept the entire night with the light ON. Another ritual is that we know that on our annual Christmas shopping trip, we'll be eating at Belle Isle and Pei Wei, and that we'll pick Pei Wei up and eat it in bed at the hotel.

6. Jennifer is a great mom. She has so much patience and love for the boys. Her husband, Justin, is the same way. They are a great family. They love to do things together, really spend quality time together as a family. They live in a beautiful home that they just built on a lake, with a fire pit for fun nights and cook-outs. They made big changes in their life to do raise their children the way that was important to them. I really admire this about her.

7. She's a great teacher. She teaches 1st grade and I know she's a great teacher. No, I've never seen her classroom or watched her with her students. BUT--I grew up playing school with her. She's probably the only 34 year old teacher that already has 31 years of experience. She doesn't just float through the year, doing what has to be done for her job. She's a true teacher. She takes teaching children to read very seriously. She does her assessments because it helps her know what her students need, not because it's part of her job. The parents of the kids in her classroom are very lucky to have her. And so are her students.

8. Jennifer can shop. She is serious about her shopping. When she comes to Dallas (or before we had kids), we would plan our shopping. When we go to OKC for our annual Christmas shopping trip, we go early on Saturday morning, we shop ALL day--close down the mall--get up, and shop some more. Shop. Shop. Shop. If the mall is closed, we go to Target and shop some more. Needless to say, it's a very productive shopping trip.

9. So many of my memories of Jenn include our family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins--all of us. We're by no means a perfect family (those of you in my family reading this are probably laughin out loud at that statement), but we have always made the effort to be together and it's always fun. Christmas times, get-togethers, Beast feasts, going to the lake, playing games, or just sitting around talking. We've had some great times--and some not so great, but that we can laugh about in some way.

10. As I'm typing this, memories are flooding back. Memories of singing about our missing company during a rain storm, of finding sugar under Grandpa's bed, of hiding and listening to our Grandmother talk to herself and thinking it was hilarious, of hiding when our parents said it was time to go, of Grandma seperating us so we would finally go to sleep, of playing school, of hiding on the top bunk and scaring her, of the thousands of trips to the mall, family garage sales, of our after school micro-rave cake snacks (I'm kneading it!), of spitting corn all over her dad as I exploded in laughter at their dinner table, "laugh lower girls," of the tons of weekends spent at the hide-out, borrowing each other's clothes (I haven't tried those on this year), crying over a broken heart or two, wedding plans, a small amount of underage drinking, trips to Red River, skiing, San Francisco. . . and now how our relationship has grown. Our trips are weekends away to go Christmas shopping for our kids, or summer trips with the kids so that they can grow up knowing and loving each other as we do. Our conversations are revolve around house-decorating, new appliances, concerns about our children, plans for our next get-together, and laughing.

Love you, Jenn.

2 people had nice things to say:

gorgeous said...

A fabulous tribute to Jenna! You and Jenna are sisters - sisters by choice, the BEST kind. I gotta hear the midget story and what's this, underage drinking! OMG!

Both of you are my favorite nieces - you are so much alike I think you are sisters, for sure cousins!

Simply Beautiful and so full of love about Jenna!
xo
am

The Waters Family said...

Love hearing all your memories with your 'little cousin'! So funny y'all would hide and listen to your Grandma talking to herself! AND-- I remember being an awesome synchronized swimmer with my cousin too! glad you got to reflect and remember all these great stories-- Your little ones will love reading this in the years to come and I'm sure they will want more details of your happy memories!
Great post!