We're wrapping up summer! With Labor Day weekend now behind us we can all prepare for Halloween which will be here before we know it.
This past weekend was a good weekend for my family. My parents have an annual family barbecue every Labor Day with all the aunts, uncles and cousins visiting for a big pitch-in dinner with all the summer favorites like potato salad and banana pudding, coupled with lots of laughs and catching up on each other's lives. It's not too often we all get together anymore. It so crazy to see my cousins and how all of our lives turned out. It seems like just yesterday we were the kids running around and playing while the adults visited . . . now to be the adults watching our grandchildren run and play is surreal. I am so grateful to have a big family and to still be close to my cousins.
Cousins are often the first friendships we make in life. Whether they are first cousins or distant cousins, sharing a blood line is a special bond. Going forward, we are the legacy of ancestors who set the course for the future. Cousins are the people who know your family history, the good and the bad. They are the few who understand the crazy stories and inside jokes that you just had to be there to get. No one will understand your crazy family quite like a cousin does! Cousins are our friends for life. They share in the memories of staying at Grandpa & Grandma's house traditions that have been passed down and share in childhood memories . . . even knowing first-hand our awkward years that we'd just soon forget! Cousins have an intimate understanding of who we are because they have been there from the beginning often living by similar rules and being taught similar values in life.
No matter how much time passes or how far apart you may be, you always have them close at heart. In my family, our cousins were like brothers and sisters . . . we grew up that close! I also grew up close with my second cousins. Our families were together almost every weekend. My parents had card nights and weekly cookouts with aunts and uncles and great aunts and uncles. While they visited, we were off playing and having fun.
We truly have a bond that I will always cherish. It warmed my heart to see my grandchild playing with my cousins’ grandchildren and I truly hope as our grandchildren get older, they will continue to stay close. I want them to know the comfort of having someone you can always count on and the joy of knowing they are always there to care for you – like I have enjoyed.
Glee and Gloom . . .
I spent the past week caring for a dear friend who had a tough surgery. It was so heart-breaking watching my friend in pain. It felt good to be able to be there day in and day out to be there and help. I know if the roles were reversed my friend would be there for me in the same way. I'm so grateful to be able to be there for my friends and grateful to have friends in my life who would do the same for me.
Hubert H. Humphrey once said, “The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.”

Stacey Baschwit works at The Paper of Montgomery County, along with her many other duties, and writes a weekly column about the people, places and events that make up her world.