I love Facebook! I don't have hundreds of friends, and I am incredibly selective about who I let on my page. Having grown up in a military family I didn't have the luxury of having my cousins as my best friends and partners in crime. Since I found Facebook, I have learned that sometime nature helps you develop those bonds even though you have never been close to home.
I have several cousins that I am close to, some that I talk to almost daily. And the funny thing is, I haven't seen some of them since the late 90's or early 2000's... I don't live close to home and something always seems to get in the way of my making that trip to Erie, 11 hours by car is a long drive to me now.
It amazes me that the ones I am close to are so much like me. Laura and I are true soul mates. It's so hysterical when we talk, you would swear that we channel the same brain and thoughts sometimes. I'm the oldest of our batch of cousins, she is somewhere near the youngest, but we are so much alike it is scary. Honestly it is probably a good thing her and I live so far apart... we could be a dangerous duo if I lived any closer. Or we could end up doing something dynamic! I know our mini-farms would be amazing and we would definitely be creating up a storm. Her and I have been talking virtually for years. When I went through one of the darkest times in my life she was one of my lifelines. And nothing makes me smile quicker than when I see an IM that starts "hey Binz" as she is the only one that calls me that. She prods and encourages me, gently pushes with persistence that is almost comical, but always with love. It's easy to see why she chose to be a teacher.
I have also found wonderful friendships with two of my other cousins. Actually they are second cousins (I'm not real good at keeping those things straight) they are mom's cousins, but closer in age to my younger sisters. When I first opened my Facebook account Sheila was one of the first to find me, she is kind of a family historian, she is determined to keep it all together. And her sister Penny, who I had briefly gotten to know on a short visit home. My son thought she was the bees knees when we were there and talked about her for years afterwards. I always thought Aunt Jo and Uncle Charles' girls were sweet and adorable, but being so much younger I sort of put them in the same spot as my sisters, never developing friendships.
Thanks to the magic of Facebook, I have gotten to know them as adults, and I feel so blessed to have them in my life. A few years back when my son was a freshman at UIUC, I was playing taxi for friends and instead of making the 6 hour round trip twice I invested in a hotel. I had told Sheila I would be in Urbana and that maybe we could meet half way or something, she lives outside of Indianapolis a short distance away. Luckily she was free, and we managed to find a Denny's in a little town in the middle. I don't remember how long we sat there, talking and reconnecting, but I know we were there through lunch and dinner. We discovered so many things that connect us, we have the same deep rooted need to craft and create and we love our children to distraction.
Penny is another friendship that is being born again. We chat about the most obscure things. Gardening, canning, children, memories, etc. She is another one that seems to have the same DNA stream that I do. She is a busy mom, but we still find time to chat occasionally, share ideas, and rejoice in small victories.
I have a lot of cousins, I lost track somewhere of the total number. And I love that I can talk to so many of them and realize how much we share. I read the things posted by some them and realize that we are more alike than different. I can see the delicate thread that binds us all... I like it... I love those family connections!
Maybe I will see some of them this year, that would be amazing! The next generations of cousins are being born... makes me wonder how their relationships will be... will time and distance damage or strengthen them.
Thank you Facebook, for helping me reconnect with my family! No matter how far away I am my heart is always with my family no matter where they are... and I will always call myself an Erie girl!