Growing up, my family spent many Sunday afternoons and holidays visiting my Noni, or grandma. I am the second youngest of my Noni’s twenty-four grandchildren and consider myself fortunate to have close relationships with many of my cousins. My cousin Jamie was a constant playmate during childhood whenever we gathered as a family.
Jamie is my cousin Amy’s daughter, and not my first cousin, but that distinction never really mattered. In our large family, “cousin” is a blanket term for anyone who might be related as an actual cousin, spouse of a cousin, or child of a cousin.
My Noni lived in a yellow stucco house on Clinton Street. Whenever we visited, the house was full of laughter and love – and usually some cookies or good treats. My grandfather built a reflecting pool in the backyard. In the summer, Jamie and I would play in and around the pool. I remember playing hide and seek with her, taking care not to trample Noni’s tomato plants in the garden while trying to get out of sight. Over time, we thought we were too mature for hide and seek and spent time talking about boys and pop music instead.
Jamie and her parents, my cousins Amy and her husband Jim, lived about an hour away from the summer camp I attended. When I was eleven or twelve, we spent the night at their house before my parents dropped me off at camp. Jim is a veterinarian and gave us a tour of his practice. I remember Jamie being amazed when I said we did not have a pet at our house.
I am proud of my cousin Jamie. She is an accomplished professional living in the New York City area. Now that we are adults, Jamie and I communicate mainly on social media. I learn from the articles she shares about business and leadership, and have been able to implement some new practices into how I manage my home care staff thanks to the information I find on her page. Jamie is still an animal lover and photos of her dog, Shea, often make me smile. I am still not a pet person, but she has one adorable Golden Retriever! Jamie is also a fantastic and fun aunt to her nieces and nephews.
Last year when I was planning my trip, Jamie sent me a brief note with her gift of support. “Love you!” Cousins can get away with short messages which convey deep thoughts. Stunned by her generosity, I quickly wrote her a thank you note to express my gratitude. She wrote me back, another short message.
Now the rest of the world will know why we are so inspired by you!
As I did with all of my 30 Days profiles, I reached out to Jamie to get her permission to share the story of our relationship on my blog. Once again, she responded quickly and enthusiastically.
I would be honored to be part of your blog, my love. Just honored!!!! I think about you all the time and have really enjoyed being inspired by YOU!!!!
Jamie – thank you for believing in my ability to help others, and for helping to make my trip a reality. The truth is, you inspire me all the time with your creativity, your concern for others, and your charity. I appreciate you reading my blog regularly, and leaving insightful comments. You have supported my endeavors with your kind words and consistent feedback. The next time I am in New York City for an event, I think we need to plan to meet for some girl talk. We are WAY overdue!