In total, counting both sides of the family, I have 16 cousins. To me, this is a pretty pathetic number given that there are 4 siblings on my father's side and 6 on my mother's.
Both my parents have told us fun stories of their childhoods, inter-twined with their cousins. Even today, they often meet up and I can see how much they enjoy each others company and how close they all are.
As children, my brother and I rarely got together with the cousins all at once. We were in Australia and they were scattered in Europe, England and different parts of Malaysia. As kids, we all got along and did have lots of fun. But now, as adults, there is always a period of awkwardness. Its as if we remember that we used to have fun together but we're now grown up and if we weren't related, are practically strangers to each other. Thankfully, I think we all feel that while we may not know each other well, we would like to.
In recent years, the only time that we've all gotten together is when one of us got married. What happens when we're all married? What happens when all my grand parents pass away and there is no longer an anchor in Malaysia to keep us going back?
By watching my parents, their siblings and their cousins, I have seen what a big family can be like. And, even if I didn't exactly experience it first hand, I could see what it was like and appreciate it. Unfortunately, I don't think Aaron and Adrian will have the chance.
Firstly, there are only three people in their generation at the moment and it doesn't look like there will be any others for a long time. Both Richard and I have one younger brother each so there aren't going to be a whole lot of first cousins anyway. Secondly, I very rarely meet up with any of my cousins. So, even if second cousins come about later, they probably won't get the chance for any rowdy play as carefree kids. Imagine what that will do to grown up second cousins? Strangers.
Am I supposed to do anything about this? Is it also part of the all encompassing role of mother to ensure that my children will know what 'family' feels like in the future? I want to make the effort but what if I'm the only one that sees any value in this?