When I was a little girl growing up in Portugal, I grew up with 2 cousins.
Lena and Ana.
Lena is my mother’s brother’s daughter and Ana is my mother’s first sister’s daughter.
Lena and Ana are actually double cousins (does that term exist?) because both my uncle and aunt married siblings from the same family.
Anyway, Lena and I are only 5 months apart (I’m older) and Ana is a few years younger than the both of us.
We all lived in different towns but they were all close to each other.
Because Lena and I were the closest in age, we were the best of friends.
We grew up like sisters really.
Our families would get together almost every weekend, every holiday, for a month during the summer we would gather at our family beach house, my mom was Lena’s mom and my aunt was my mom too.
Ana, the younger cousin, got to be a big sister to a brother (Vitor) first.
Then Lena, the middle cousin got to be a big sister to a brother (Eugenio).
I prayed every night for what seemed to be like years but I too finally became a big sister to a brother (Ricardo).
Because Lena and I would spend the summers together, we would play mommies and dress our brothers like girls. (so we were our mommies and our brothers were us. poor tortured brothers!)
All of us girl cousins are now married and proud mothers.
Lena has Sebastiao (9) and Sofia (short of 18 months).
As you all know, I have Lily (going on 19 months).
Ana, the youngest just became the proud mother of Teresinha.
It’s a new generation of 3 girl cousins by the exact same order as before.
I know it is hard because we are so far away from them but, I hope that Lily grows up to be close to her cousins like I grew up close to mine.