Wow, I can't believe that we are already in the month of October. Time has flown by! I know it's been a while since my last post, but life literally ran away from me the past month. I'll try to be better about posting this month.
Anyway, what got me writing today was a little email in my inbox this morning. I have gmail, and the calendar for it is cool because it will send you email reminders of events, birthdays, etc. Well, although I didn't need it, I got a reminder that this month is my cousin, Brandon's birthday.
Brandon is my youngest cousin on my mom's side of the family. If you know anything about me, you know that I am extremely close to my mom's side of the family. We were all blessed to live within 10min of each other for my whole life, and because of the crazy lives of my parents and Uncle and Aunt (and because they all like each other), it happened that my brother and I spent a ton of time with our cousins -- more than most people, I would bet. When we were very young, especially, it felt like we were always together. Gran and Grandad watched the 5 of us on nights too numerous to even begin to count, and we spent every holiday, birthday, etc. together. It felt as if we were siblings (except better because we didn't fight as much).
I can't even begin to express what a significant blessing it was for me. There just aren't eloquent (and big enough) words to describe the bond that the 5 of us share. Our relationship is something sweet and special, and it shaped so many things about who I am as a person now. Emilee is practically my sister, and probably one of my best friends in the entire world, and Blake is one of the most inspiring people I know.
But today, I'm thinking about Brandon. He's in college now, and I'm so proud of what he has accomplished so far. But whenever I think of Brandon I'm always brought back to our play time together when we were little. Every once in a while, for differing reasons, Emilee would have to be gone, and it'd be just me and the boys, and since (at the time) Ryan thought I was his yucky big sister, and Blake thought I was just a boring older kid, I would find myself sans a playmate. But I could always count on Brandon to play with me. It didn't matter to him that I was older, or a girl that liked to play with Barbies, he was always willing to spend time with me.
It meant more to me than I could express, and I was just so happy to hang with him. One of my fondest memories of those times was a day when, after we had spent time together, I told my mom how much fun I had with Brandon, and how happy I was that he was willing to play with me. Without skipping a beat, my mom simply said, "Well, that's because he likes you." -- not "he's your cousin," or "he just likes to play," not even "well, he loves you," but "he likes you."
Let me tell you, that is a memory I will cherish forever. I mean, think about it: of course your family loves you (or should love you). They are your family! That's what families do! But for your family to like you?! This concept blew my little elementary school aged mind! I will never forget the joy I felt by being liked by my cousin, Brandon.
I'm happy to say that the years together only tightened our little bond of 5. We all like each other and enjoy each others' company now, and are happy to admit it. But every October, when Brandon's birthday comes around, I think about how different my life would have been if Brandon hadn't been there to simply like me.
It still blows my mind to think about it. So this month, as with every October, I'm unbelievably thankful for Brandon.