We are Family

My cousin Kristen and I are a decade apart. But as we grow older, we also grow closer.

Our mothers are sisters, and like Kristen and me there’s a large gap between them — 8 years. But as they aged, their bond has strengthened.

Kristen and I have much in common — our hair color, posture, body type and other family traits. Our love of Harry Potter, dark chocolate, hiking and good wine are also not to be forgotten.

But most importantly, we’re family. We share an unconditional love that sees one another through tears and laughter. I often describe Kristen and her brother Keith as my younger siblings rather than my lone first cousins.

20130625-223634.jpgOpening Christmas gifts with Kristen in 1989.

kvHiking with Kristen in 2003.

kv2With Keith and Kristen at my 2005 wedding. (I look tired.)

schreffler3Kristen turns 21. Kristen, Keith and me toast with a legal drink (2009)

schreffler4Hiking in 2011 with Keith’s wife Laura and Kristen

20130625-223402.jpgCousins, 2013

We tease one another and confide in each other. We spar, we hug, we cook and eat (a lot) and we travel together. We share the good and bad, even when we feel alone.

After all, who else understands what it’s like to head to our grandparents’ house for Easter dinner where succotash and sliced ham are divvied with military-style precision? And who else comprehends a family throwdown mid-vacation that ends by baking bread then breaking bread?

And of course there’s the family tradition of stuffing the fridge to the gills, mainly with freshly-picked veggies from the garden.

We do.

Kristen was actually born while I celebrated my 11th birthday with friends at a roller rink. I was thrilled to share the day with her and even more excited to meet her several weeks later.

Last weekend, our family gathered in Bethlehem, PA to celebrate Kristen’s wedding. She married her best friend Erik and we welcomed him to our slice of insanity with open arms. Kristen was a stunning bride – confident, happy, gracious and glowing.

schrefflerAunt Martha, my mother Barbara, me and Kristen

We don’t see each other as often as we’d like. But when we do gather, we have a great time.

I feel so blessed to have such incredible, strong and loving women in my family. Sure, we all trip and make mistakes, but we learn from those errors. We evolve, we grow, we become who we are today.

What’s the last family gathering you attended? Are you like me, with a close family that lives far away? How do you cope?

11 thoughts on “We are Family

  1. You’ve always spoken so fondly of Kristen and Keith so it’s awesome to see them at these big life events. They’re lucky to have you as a big cousin!

  2. Awwwwwawawa i love mushy family posts. Probably b/c I am nut and close with mine. Looks like you two have had some wonderful memories over the years and will have many more. Gorgeoussssss bride is right!!!

  3. Yea…my only brother lives on the other coast (West) and I really only get to see him at most 2 times a year…major bummer. Like you are your cousin, we are 9 years apart and it seems like the older we get–the closer we get.

    • The age difference seems to matter far less as we grow older. And I completely relate! My only sister lives in Australia. I’m lucky if I get to see her once every other year. But we email regularly and she skypes with our parents. A 5-hour drive to see my parents pales in comparison

  4. This is very similar to my cousin Maureen (six years older) and me. We’re not too far away, only two hours. We make it a point to get together once a month. I pride myself that I’ve seen her son every month – he’s 20 months old, now 🙂

    • Oh that’s fantastic that you make time to see your cousin’s son every month. Keep it up, I am sure Maureen appreciates it!
      I think I’m going to see these guys in 2 weeks, so I am excited!

  5. Pingback: Recipe Box: Aunt Martha’s Strawberry Pie | Scoot A Doot

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