Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Arrival

isn't he lovely?


I'm feeling all gushy and sentimental tonight, so pardon me if this post gets oozy and a little wet around the edges.

Anyone who knows me, knows me and my cousins. Because I have a lot of them. Because we are all close. It's rare and weird, I know, but it was totally normal for me growing up and even now to be constantly surrounded by family from both sides. My cousins and I are all very close in age. We all like each other, and for the most part stay in touch pretty well. Our kids relate to each other like they are first cousins not second.

I'm just lucky I guess.

When I was young, I thought this was just how it was for everyone, but as I matured I began to realize that even my cousins didn't have it as good as I. I saw that even for them there was only one side of their family that they were bonded to in the way that our family was knit together. I started appreciating how fortunate I was to have these built-in friends, and people often ask me if I have any friends, or just cousins... and usually, it's just cousins! But I'm ok with that.

It might seem normal, with all of these extended family members to have a favorite. Over the years, I developed stronger attachments to certain people depending on age or circumstance or who we visited most recently.

I have attended school with my cousins (Rohini and Preya). I have lived with some of them. (Lori, and then Larissa, and then Lori and even Jason for a time.) I have shared common experiences with some (single mothehood) and family traits with others. But really I could not pick a favorite.

No favorite, except that there remains in my heart a special fondness for my cousin Jeremy. Older than I by a couple years, he was the wiser, more worldly cousin that my brother and I so worshipped on summer holidays and family vacations. Jeremy and I would stay up way too late, talking in the dark until the wee hours of the morning even as we were growing up, sometimes very badly, into adulthood.

And then at a time where perhaps we were both a little lost, we formed a club of forlorn stragglers with his Auntie Ruth, (the warm and lovely "Rufus"). I was post-graduation, post-breakup and, in hopes of solving life's mysteries, had just moved out to BC on my own for the first time. Except I wasn't really on my own because so many of my extended family, including Jeremy's, lived on the lower mainland that I had long since adopted as my second home. I spent the first six months of my transition to the Coast couch surfing between Jer's parents home and my grandparents' - a lucky beneficiary of the incredible hospitality our family is renowned for.

Jer was there too, having just returned, broken-hearted, from Hawaii, and rounding out our trio was his Aunt who, having made major changes in her life was also taking up residency at the Wiebe's while getting her feet back on the ground and attending school.

With Jer's sister, Alisa having just gotten married, we left the newlyweds alone to honeymoon, (save some long soaks in their hot-tub under starry skies), and banded together over gourmet coffee and guitars, beaches and long discussions over the nature of God, and our unknown futures. Not having a very large social group as a displaced Albertan, Jer kindly introduced me to his friends, some of whom genuinely became friends of my own, and somehow we survived those dark gloomy days together.

And like all good things must, the kinship born out of loneliness, and familiarity came to an end. I moved back to Calgary and had a baby not long after. Jer took up school and became the husband to sweet Jaana. Aside from weddings, funerals and the occasional in-between visit there wasn't time for long philosophical discussions or perhaps even the desire for them.

Jer and his lovely bride moved out East where Jer was finishing PhD studies in Philosophy at McGill and that is where their first child, the curly-locked Eden Jemimah was born. The first chance I had to meet Eden was at the funeral of my Grandfather in 2007 when I was a rotund pregnant woman swollen with grief and hormones perched precariously atop a large pair of cankles in the heat of the BC summer.... a lovely first impression I'm sure, and I'm sad to say that I have not had a second opportunity to get to know the newest generation of Wiebes since then. Our kids have never met, and Jeremy is the only first cousin of mine that Gavan has yet to get to know.

Next summer the entire family on my mom's side will be having a reunion at Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, and I would be lying if I didn't admit that one of the reasons I am most excited about it is to finally introduce Gavan to the last piece of the complex family puzzle that is my life. Another Cousin to keep track of. But one, that like the others, is so dear to me.

And now to sweeten the anticipation of introducing our families to each other, Jeremy and Jaana have just welcomed a brand new baby boy into their little family. Asher Jeremiah was born on September 25th, and we cannot wait to meet him.

Congratulations to the Wiebe family on the safe arrival of baby Asher.

1 comment:

r.a.d.e tarves said...

Sharmi, you are indeed, very lucky to have the closeness to your cousins that you do.. I think it's a bit of a rare thing.
Congrats to Jeremy and his little family!

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