Instagram Message: Cousins in Costa Rica. Read or listen to

Instagram Message: Cousins in Costa Rica. Read or listen to

The other day when my son was talking about a trip that I’m trying to plan in order to attend a wedding in December, my hub asked which cousin of mine was getting married.  When he said the word “cousin” there was a tone of skepticism in his voice.  I can’t say that I blame him one bit because many years ago he found out that the term “cousin” can be used very loosely whenever Filipinos are involved.  Here are a couple of fake cousin scenarios: 1) My first cousins on my dad’s side have first cousins on their mom’s side too.  Since they are close to them and I’m close to my cousins - there have been many occasions when we lump everyone together and refer to the whole posse as cousins.  In other words, I am not related to my cousins’ cousins but we still call each other cousins.  Or 2) Back home in the Philippines, your family and the neighbor’s family are very close.  All of the kids from both families hung out - being raised together because in those days (and is probably still the case) it took a village to raise big families.  When these family friends are brought together in the US by migration and citizenship - there is a big difference between the terms “good family friends” and “cousins”.  The meaning of cousin is obviously deeper than family friend. It is sort of insulting not to call them aunt, uncle or cousin.  This is where the line becomes blurry. I remember being constantly introduced to kids my age as cousins and I couldn’t figure out who was a REAL cousin or who was a close family friend for years. What surprises me, is that it has become full circle - I find myself confusing my own kids!  That’s right. I tell my kids to refer to my best friends as Auntie Kristin, Auntie Klaudette and Auntie Janet.  These caucasian women are not my sisters.  But heck, they are my closest friends!!  Giving them the title of “auntie” is an honor but it confuses the heck out of my kids. I just can’t help it - these friends have earned the title. Therefore, I empathize with the Filipinos who refer to their childhood neighbor as their cousin.  Does that mean kids of my besties are my kids’ cousins? No. Fortunately, this is not a problem but I wonder if we were living in the same area and we got together all the time, if I would also give them the honorary title of “cousins”. Anyway, the skepticism of my hub is completely warranted because as he said, “We can’t afford to go to every cousin’s wedding.”  And that is the truth in my case.  

On my mom’s side, The Maniquis Family,  I have twenty-seven REAL first cousins.  On my dad’s side, The Pellicers, I have twelve REAL first cousins. One of my Pellicer cousins, Pia, lost her battle with Lupus in April 2016. Her funeral brought almost all of us back together again. Funerals and weddings = family reunions.  I am more familiar with my dad’s side and I find myself craving Pellicer time more than once a year. I am probably closer to them because my dad was one of six boys which meant there wasn’t much drama in his family.  My mom, on the other hand, was the oldest of ten kids and there was always a chance that she was quarreling with at least one of her brothers and sisters so we didn’t hang out with them nearly as much. To be fair, half of my mom’s siblings stayed in the Philippines so it was more challenging to get to know them when I was growing up. However, now thanks to Facebook, I can keep up with the Maniquis families’ lives whether they live in Carson, CA or San Miguel Bulacan, Philippines.  

Needless to say, I have a lot of first cousins! My hub has a total of three cousins and he doesn't keep in touch with any of them. I feel blessed that my kids have two cousins on my side of the family (Pellicers) and seven cousins on my hub’s side of the family. Typically, both of our families meet up whenever we are in town and my kids are able to spend time with both sets of cousins at once.  There is a closer bond between my brother-in-law’s two kids and our two kids because we travel with them every summer. They are inseparable for days. 

On National Cousins Day, July 24th - I thought it would be nice to pinch all of my cousins. Since I don’t live by any of them - I came up with something (see below) that I will put on social media because I want them to know that I am thinking of them on Cousins Day. It’s time to send a thoughtful pinch to those relatives who have a little more in common with you than the next guy.

P - pot belly*

E - easygoing

L - legs**

L - loyal

I - intriguing

C - committed

E - eater***

R - relevant

  *signature feature of a Pellicer. **our best feature which offsets the pot belly. ***we like all meals, snacks and desserts.

M - merry

A - accommodating

N - nice

I - involved

Q - quiet

U - unselfish

I - inspired

S - supportive




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