I recently had a class where I was teaching writing. The assignment was to go through and first brainstorm all these people that were important to your life. Then we were to narrow it down to one and just write about that one. The book gave us three key points to focus on and then how moving those parts around gave the essay a different direction. Anyway I thought it sounded like fun and in lieu of sitting there watching my students write, I decided to join them! And here's what I ended up writing....
As far back as I can remember my cousin has always been in my life. She was the daughter of my favorite uncle until he left their family for his secretary. After that happened, our relationship grew into more of friends than just family. We loved to see each other each time I was there on vacation and we would write letters to fill in the spaces when we were not together. When I say letters, I mean short novellas that started when we were 14 and we kept as a way to chronicle the highs and lows of our lives.
I learned so much from her. She is caring and honest and I can be real and authentic with her and be accepted for that. She is also very interesting and creative and always is telling me about new things she has heard, seen, read or done. I am constantly inspired by her outlook on life. Most of all she is funny and her laughter over something I've said or written is by far the greatest reward and motivation I've ever had.
One pivotal incident that demonstrates how much she is important to me happened one night in a college dorm room in Kansas. A scared, freaked-out freshman/sophmore called long-distance to his cousin in Oregon with the concern that he might possibly not end up with the All-American dream of a wife and family, a two car garage and a white picket fence. The ending of his story looked like a great, giant, dark unknown and he didn't know anyone who had a story like his. She was the one who told him that his story would turn out fine.
And looking back ten years later, she was right. She still continues to encourage me to be the best I can be. I am grateful that God has blessed me by putting her in my life!
Happy Birthday J!