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Cousins are precious creatures, often being our closest playmates after our siblings. And if we are really lucky, our cousins choose their partners wisely and give us even more cousins as we get older. My first cousin to marry will be having his 40th anniversary this weekend, which means that my “cousin-in-law” has been part of our family almost twice as long after her marriage than her husband was before marrying her. (I hope that makes sense when I read it again in the morning!)

Today was Aunt Betty and Uncle Phil’s 66th wedding anniversary — an incredible accomplishment by two of the most special people in my world. Coincidentally, their first daughter-in-law was visiting for a couple of days, so I drove up to Fresno this evening for a visit. I almost didn’t go. It had been a long day, rain was expected, Olivia has basketball at 8:30 in the morning. I rattled off an entire litany of excuses to myself. But Janice had come all the way from Virginia and I hadn’t seen her for more than a year, so I went.

Of course, the look of joy on her face when she opened the door and discovered me was worth the drive both ways. And our instant “cousin connection”, the one that erases the time and space of being apart, was as wonderful as always. We were young adults together. I served the cake at her wedding, she is my daughter’s godmother. We are grandmothers together, we are each grieving the death of a parent (Janice’s dad and my mom), and watching loved ones journey through dementia (Janice’s mom and my Uncle Phil). I have often said that I wished New Hampshire, Virginia, and Ohio were clustered along the eastern border of California north of Arizona, so that all our family could see each other more often.

Tonight I am thankful for the blessings of cousins — by birth and by marriage — and for the aunts and uncles who give them to us. Happy 66th anniversary, Aunt Betty and Uncle Phil. And thank you for being Philip Bruce’s parents, so that I could have Janice.

(This was written on Friday night, but didn’t publish until two minutes into Saturday.)