There’s Kissing Cousins And Then There’s Kicking Cousins

, , , , , | Related | June 24, 2019

I lost my grandpa early this May, and the grief hits harder some days than others. Come the memorial about two weeks later, his family and friends are around, half of us crying, the other half sharing amazing stories — half of which I’d never heard, and sorely wish I had — of the generosity my grandpa showed almost everyone in the family.

One of my cousins is there. I went to Taekwondo class with her for several years and we got our black belts together about six years ago. She’s fifteen now, and I’m twenty-four; age difference does make a bit of a difference here.

After being at the memorial for maybe half an hour, she loudly starts complaining about how she’s done and she wants to go home, looking at her mom — another of my cousins and a super sweet lady.

After about the fifth or sixth time she does this, when she does it directly in front of me, I turn to her, sick of it, and trying to keep it together. I say, “I’m sorry that my grandpa dying has ruined your day.”

She just stares at me like I’ve grown a second head, and I storm off.

Up until she did that in front of me, I was doing my absolute best to try to understand where she was coming from; she didn’t know my grandpa all that well, and she’s a teenager. But how entitled do you have to be to say things like that in front of my face like that? It’s especially frustrating because her grandpa is my grandpa’s brother-in-law.

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Big Island, Small World

, , , , , , | Related | May 28, 2019

(I’m on a bus trip around parts of South Australia’s wine region with 22 other young adults from my church from around Australia, only six of whom I know from Western Australia. Others are from Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, and South Australia. It’s our first night, and we jump on our tour bus to go to dinner. I sit next to a young woman from Melbourne and we start chatting.)

New Friend: “Hey, I’m [New Friend]. I’m from Melbourne; where are you from?”

Me: “I’m [My Name]. I’m from Perth. I love Melbourne, especially the Dandenong Ranges where my Aunty [Aunt] lives. My Uncle [Uncle] lives somewhere there, too.”

(She gives me a quizzical look.)

New Friend: “What’s your uncle’s last name?”

Me: “[Last Name], why?”

(She starts laughing.)

New Friend: “Hello, cousin.”

Me: “Wait, what? Are you serious?”

New Friend: “Yep, your uncle’s wife, [Aunt], is my aunt.”

Me: “Holy crap, that’s so cool!”

(We all had a great time on the trip, and thanks to Facebook, my cousin and I are able to keep in touch. Gotta love random family encounters.)

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At Least Her Heart Was In It

, , , , , | Healthy | May 24, 2019

I was a pre-teen when I was sent to the local hospital with what started as pneumonia, but we quickly discovered I had a host of heart problems. My doctors were debating putting me on the transplant list, or waiting until I could do open heart surgery. I spent about two months in the hospital the first time.

Many of my family and friends were incredibly supportive. They sent get-well cards, comic books, food, and gift cards for the family, and some even came across the country to help with the house. But one cousin, in her 30s, was a bit clueless on the wonderful world of cardiac diseases.

A month into my stay, I received a gift basket from my cousin and her husband. In it, there were Pringles, pretzels, chips, pop, and a note asking us to visit her if we were ever in her state. We don’t know if it was a clerical error or her thinking a preteen loves these foods — which I did, when they didn’t almost kill me.

We laugh about it now, and whenever someone is sick in the family, I always think of the “deliberate cardiac arrest” gift basket.

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With Every Breath, It Gets More Hurtful

, , , , , , | Related | May 12, 2019

(My youngest brother is thirteen and a very sweet kid. He can be a bit overwhelming at first; he’s very energetic and loves to talk your ear off with fifty different topics all at once. Despite this, my family and I love him dearly. He has some mental damage done from seizures he had as a baby, so he’s certainly “different” to others, but to us he’s normal. Most people in our family accepted him right away when they met him, thinking he’s a sweetheart… Some didn’t — not right away, at least. One day, my cousin, about four years older than my brother, visits from out of state to see us and our grandparents. I offer to drive her and my brother to the store as they need something. This happens while we’re there.)

Brother: “Oh, oh! [My Name], look, look! This shirt has a Minecraft creeper on it! I want it.”

Me: “It’s 30 bucks! I don’t have that money on me right now, bud. Sorry.”

(He’s a bit upset but walks it off. He tends to mumble to himself to let off steam. He’s mumbling something about getting money himself for it, and I can hear him. So can [Cousin].)

Cousin: “Um, excuse me?!”

(Both my brother and I look at her.)

Cousin: “What did you just say?! Under your breath?”

Brother: “N-Nothing…”

Cousin: “I know you said something. What was it?”

Brother: “I… I just wanted the shirt…”

Cousin: “Okay, so you act like a f****** baby because she said no?”

Me: “Woah, woah. Calm down, [Cousin].”

Brother: “N-No… I wanted it but… I can wait for it… I just said that I could get money myself.”

Cousin: “Yeah, okay, sure. You need to stop acting like a f****** baby. Grow up! You’re too old for Minecraft, anyway. Get over it.”

Brother: “But I like it. It’s fun and I play with friends.”

Cousin: “You’re too old! Grow up. Your stupid friends are probably younger than you. Why do you act like such a baby?!”

Brother: “I just–”

Cousin: “No excuses! [My Name], your brother is so immature. What the h*** is wrong with him?”

Me: “[Cousin], you don’t need to make a scene. I heard him and he said nothing bad. You don’t need to be insulting him like this.”

Cousin: “Yeah, well, it’s not like it’s my fault he’s so [disability slur].”

(That’s when I stare at her, unsure of what to say. My brother tears up and runs off, about ready to cry.)

Me: “Excuse me?! It’s not his fault… You have no right to act this way towards him.”

Cousin: “This is why he acts spoiled. You’re a f****** idiot for giving him what he wants.”

(She stormed off towards the checkout with whatever she happened to pick up while I ran off to look for my brother, who was crying in the toy aisle. I tried to calm him down, letting him know I’d talk with [Grandparents] when we got home. He accepted that and walked with me towards [Cousin] who looked impatient. The drive home was silent, save for a few sniffs from my brother. I tried to explain the situation to my grandparents, but [Cousin] kept interrupting and, in the end, my grandparents scolded my brother for his behavior and me for allowing him to act like that. [Cousin] was smug about it, too. My brother and I went home and I refuse to speak to my cousin, who has tried to talk to me like nothing happened since.)

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She Has Bad Jeans

, , , , , , | Related | April 25, 2019

(I have a cousin who I’ve never really been close to, for good reason. I’m 12 years old while she is 14. I’m out shopping with her and my auntie — her mum.)

Cousin: “Oh, these jeans.” *points to $200 jeans* “I want them.”

Auntie: “What? No. Sorry, we can’t afford them right now. Your birthday is coming up; maybe you can get them then.”

Cousin: *yelling* “NO! I want them now!”

(People are staring.)

Auntie: “I’m sorry. We just can’t afford them.”

(My cousin then throws herself on the ground and starts kicking and screaming, throwing a tantrum like a two-year-old until my auntie gives in and buys them for her. From then on, I refuse to go shopping with them. Fast forward twenty years: I have moved interstate for work. Along with my boyfriend, I’m visiting my parents for their 40th wedding anniversary which is a family BBQ. My cousin, auntie, and uncle are there. After dinner, my boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to me. Before I can even respond:)


(Everyone turns to look at her.)

Auntie: “What’s wrong?”

Cousin: *to me* “You can’t get engaged.”

Me: “What?”

Cousin: “I’m the older, prettier, smarter one. I’m better than you; I should get married first.”

(My whole family is in shock. I’m sick of her temper tantrums and thinking she’s better than me, so I decide to stand up for myself.)

Me: “Just because you’re a stuck-up, self-centered b**** doesn’t mean you get to dictate when I get engaged or married.” *to my boyfriend* “Of course, I’ll marry you!”

(My cousin threw a glass bowl full of punch through a glass door, and then threw herself on the ground crying and screaming that it was so unfair. My uncle had to pick her up and carry her out to their car, while we were left to deal with the cleanup at the ruined anniversary/engagement party. My cousin ended up at the ER to get stitches for cuts from the broken glass door. She wasn’t invited to my wedding, and I’m not surprised to say she’s still single and none of my family speaks to her.)

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