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We Could All Use A Cousin Lisa In Our Lives

, , , , , | Related | January 4, 2022

In my extended family, my dad was an only child and my mother had one older sister. My Aunt Mary had two sons: one my age and one two years older than us. But in addition to Cousin George and Cousin Sam, we also had Cousin Lisa. Cousin Lisa was the daughter of George and Sam’s Uncle Fred, and she was sixteen years old when I was born.

Cousin Lisa was my favorite cousin. She was the only other girl in the family, so she got extra points by default, but because she was older, she was also just so much fun. Whenever she visited, she made sure to schedule time to take George, Sam, and me out for all sorts of fun activities no one else would take us out for. I now realise it’s because she was a single adult with a stable job and no kids and had more free money, but back then, we just thought she was the Big Kid and was letting us break all the grown-up rules by getting two snacks when we went to the movies.

When I was five, I found out that not only did Lisa visit us twice a year, but George and Sam got to travel over to visit her once a year. I was so upset that I cried for weeks. From that year, only I got to go with George and Sam every winter to Lisa’s so that we could see the snow.

When we grew older and our interests started to diverge, Lisa made sure to keep up to date, even when I was fifteen and what I liked changed weekly. Oftentimes, she’d not just take us out as a group, but she’d also schedule outings with each of us individually to do something we enjoyed. I got to go to my first-ever concert, which I’d begged my parents for, because Lisa agreed to come with me.

These last few months, I have been planning my wedding and trying to prune down the list of invites to determine who should and should not be coming.

And it is only while trying to work out this list of invitees that my parents have thought to tell me that Cousin Lisa is not my cousin at all. Lisa, George, and Sam are related on their dads’ side. George, Sam, and I are related on our mums’ side. Lisa just came to visit after George was born, took one look at baby me, as well, and declared to both sets of parents, “Both of these are mine now.”

Not once in any of the twenty-six years that I’ve been alive and telling everyone how much Lisa is my favorite cousin has anyone ever thought to tell me this — not even the time I scheduled a special trip with my fiancée to the city she lives in specifically to introduce them.

She is still invited to my wedding.