My Favourite Cousin

Friday, 1 August 2014

What I like to do he doesn't
He's his family's pride and joy
His mothers little golden boy.' 

The lyrics to an Undertone's tune that those of a certain age will remember. I can usually gauge people by their reaction to my second son Fergal's name. 'Oh like the journalist Fergal Keane' from the late 40 to early 50 year olds, 'Were you an Undertones fan?' from the early to mid 40 year olds and 'You mean like Fergal Sharkey' from the 30 to 40 brigade. 

Whilst I hope I have 'A Good Heart', I confess, I always find the last of the three responses the most cliched and least palatable! As per, I've gone off on a tangent, so back to the train of thought before it once again departs the station.
Had a lovely evening last night catching up with my cousin John, who many of my readers know, but as Robert John. In truth the latter is his correct title, so named after our gorgeous Granddad, Bob Croft, however, I never realised until we hooked back up on Facebook!

It was great to share memories and family secrets, to reconnect and to a certain extent rationalise who we are. There was a natural ease to our conversation, or rather, my talking and him listening! The great thing about family is that you accept each other unconditionally even if we appear to the world and each other as bonkers!

I have as many FIRST cousins as I have children which is odd coming from a Catholic family with Irish roots on one side. I do have oodles of second, third and beyond cousins on the Irish side some of whom I'm closer to than my first cousins. It's not that I don't like my first cousins and as children we spent time together and made happy memories but as we grew in to adulthood, life and geography have dictated that we rarely see each other, unless someone marries or dies! 

All of my first cousins are boys and in childhood were significantly older, so I had very little in common with them other than genetics. I was often the naughty and annoying small child who tagged at their heels and wasn't mature enough to join in their games. John always made time for me and an attempt to engage me. When I struggled with my nine times table he taught me an easy strategy to overcome my difficulty. He was a fantastic artist and I was in awe, he would show me his art work and explain how he'd achieved his results. On numerous occasions he encouraged me to 'have a go' mainly drawing animals, though I fear he would be disappointed that my drawing skills have never evolved, as my children will testify. If I was a pain in the arse, he never made me feel like one!

Genetics are more important than we ever realise and to a certain extent define who we are. We inherit characteristics which ripen and grow with the ages. If we look back, we know who we got certain attributes from and that if we put that person in the present day their reaction would equate to ours in similar circumstances. 

Ages have passed since I last saw John, in fact, I think the last occasion, before yesterday, was at our Grandma's funeral and I was pregnant with Fergal, who is now 9! John remains the same, the gentle, intelligent, funny boy who however many years down the line encourages me to 'have a go'. Known fondly in our house as 'pimp my blog', and indeed, without his input, or his friend Dragos', there mightn't be a blog. 

So here's to family and all that we share. I am fortunate for I know it will never change whatever passes and we will always be able to connect. Here's also to the next time and more cousins together, which is something John and I are both looking forward to.