I grew up an only child, so my cousins filled in as brothers and sisters. My Mom’s side of the family, the DeMarias, all stuck together in Kansas City. We were so close in fact, that we began life as kids on the very same block; next door and across the street from one another.
My earliest memories are of the six of us all growing up on Grand St. together playing in the water hydrant during summer block parties, getting pushed in the red Radio Flyer wagon, or building a snowman in the front yard. That’s what the grainy family videos remind us anyway. Actual memories, like the faded film and pictures themselves, start to blend together as I get older. My emotional ties to the time, however, remain strong.
Now we’re all grown up. The two oldest, Michaela and Vicki, have recently been blessed with children: a daughter and son respectively. It’s these two little people whom mark the beginning of a new generation in what has not experienced the birth of a child for over a quarter century. That has been the trend though in this family. Predominant and proud generations, spanning many many years.
That, to me, is quite a milestone for the cousins. It also comes with a certain responsibility. It’s our turn now to bring up children of our own, to keep them close together, and re-create the memories that we once shared.