Growing up I idolized my female cousins. They could do no wrong in my eyes. It didn’t matter what kind of piercings, haircuts or style that they had, nor did it matter to me who they were dating. These ladies were everything that I wanted to be.
To add some context, I am the youngest in my generation on both sides of my family. Other than my brother and 1 male cousin, it was all strong females that I had to look up to. Like superheroes, they each had their own strengths which I envied and wanted to be blessed with; Athleticism, poise, rebellion, kindness, creativity, independence and intellect… to me, my cousins were the coolest thing ever.
As I got older I began to realize that it was not just my cousins who I had for role models. It was the generations before us who had helped shape us into these women. The more I learn about my family, the more I am blown away by the various struggles in life that they have over come.
Amongst all of this, I must admit that there is a bit of sadness. I was never able to meet my father’s mother. She passed away before I was even a thought. I am sure that she was a very strong woman, raising all those sons. You’d have to be a tough cookie to put up with those yahoos!
My other grandmother passed away when I was very young. I have very few memories of her. What I do remember is her reading Alice in Wonderland to me as well as teaching me to play Go Fish at their dining room table. Most of what I know about her is what my cousins have told me about her like how disciplined she was, which was probably a good thing for her as a teacher.
Now my cousins are all in a place where they are helping to shape the next generation. I know that those kids probably only see them as their mom or aunties but one day they’ll realize how cool they are and how they do possess so many incredible attributes. I can only hope that some of my stories about them help to show them how lucky they are to be a part of this family, just like I am.
If any of my family is reading this, take this as a virtual hug. I love you all for being the strong women who paved the way for me. Thank you for making the choices to do what was best for you, not necessarily what society says you ought to do. Because of that, I know that it is more than alright for me to do the same. You are all amazing people and best of all, I get to call you my family.