Friday, December 4, 2009

A Paen to Cousin Honey

When I turned 40, my oldest friend who is also my cousin sent me something she wrote about me. It was so touching and wonderful. But she was wrong. She said she was always a little behind me. But I don't think that's true. She's been ahead of me on so many things.

When we were kids in the 70s, she lived in Houston and I lived in Memphis and we wrote letters to each other. She called me Pedro Ramirez. She was Rose Red and I was Snow White. When she came to visit, she made up these hilarious stories for us to act out. We were southern belles giving birth in inappropriate places and then having to clean up afterbirth. I know! But it was always so funny. I remember sitting on the giant sectional couch of her house in Houston, pouring through an astrology book, trying to figure out if I was really an Aries, if she were really a Sagittarius. I think we were.

And we wrote these letters. I'd about cut off my left arm to have some of those back. We were a HOOT! And she was always the one creating the scenario; she was the funny one. I just traveled in her wake.

And then we grew up and some wonderful person invented email. I email Cousin Honey 4 or 5 times a day every day. And she emails me back. She's had my back whenever I needed someone to have it. She's made me laugh when I needed a laugh. She's told me to straighten up when I needed someone to tell me to straighten up. She's told me to lighten up, when I needed someone to tell me to lighten up. She's been my friend when I needed a friend.

And she's been ahead of me! She married before me. She had kids before me. And when I don't know what I'm doing, she's the one person I can really count on for judgment-free advice. As I've said before, nowadays it feels pretty natural to be a mother, but in the beginning it was hard. And she was always ready to give me a boost, tell me about oatmeal baths and time outs, and reassure me that I was doing just fine, that it was going to be all right.

And she has the most wonderful smile. I might be especially aware of people with really good smiles, since I've never much cared for my own. But, Cousin Honey has one of those big, wide smiles that make you really want to be her friend. And, when she laughs (which she does a lot), forget about it. You're laughing too.

She's a proud, devout, Christian. I'm an atheist. She's suburban. I'm urban. She's Texas, I'm Chicago. She's a stay-at-home Mom, I'm a working Mom. On paper, none of this makes sense. But, when I think of the people in my life that I love, that I'm grateful for, that I don't know how I'd make t through the day without, Cousin Honey is right at the top of my list.

Happy birthday, my cousin, my friend, and one of the most wonderful, hilarious, smart and special people I know. You've been my friend for longer than anyone else. And one day we'll be old ladies together. And we'll be hilarious old ladies together.

I'll meet you in Galveston in 30 years or so. I'll bring the bourbon.

I love you a lot! Even if you are a technological retard.