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Cousins Siblings Friends | Dive into Diversity

Happy Dive Into Diversity, you guys! So thrilled to have our friend Rachel from Hello, Chelly sharing a great story about her family — a story we’d love to see reflected in the books we are reading more often. Plus it fits in perfectly with Magan’s closer look at family varieties (reminder to check out her stepfamily post!). Feel free to leave comments below, and let us know what diverse reads you’ve been loving lately. xoxo – e & m
Dive Into Diversity Reading Challenge

When Estelle asked me to write about my cousins, she said she’s always thought the fact that my cousins are also some of my best friends was unique about my life. It’s true. I’m so used to thinking of them as the brothers and sisters I never had (I’m an only child) but they really are cousins, siblings and dearest friends all wrapped into one. And that’s something we have our parents to thank for. Since they all love to be together, we naturally learned from their example.

Rachel from Hello Chelly on Cousins as Best FriendsWhenever I talk about a cousin, chances are I’m referring to someone on my mom’s side of the family. My mom was the first person to make the move from the Philippines to New York (Queens to be exact!). So when she got married and had me, it was… just me. It took some time for her other siblings to come to the US so they were still in the Philippines starting their own families there. It wasn’t until her youngest brother moved to NYC too that I had a cousin to play with. My cousin John was born when I was five years old and I still remember making the trip to the hospital to see him for the first time. (There’s a picture of me sitting in my aunt’s room with a hospital gown on and eating cookies.) He was so cute! That is, until he started learning how to walk and talk and insisted on taking all my toys without asking. Suddenly being the only child never looked better. But as much as he annoyed me back then, I loved him was equally as fiercely.

And that’s kind of the way it was with all my cousins as we grew up. Butting heads but loving each other all the same.

The same uncle eventually had another son, who is still the baby of our cousins. Then we all moved to New Jersey and more of my mom’s siblings followed from the Philippines. One uncle, aunt and their two sons moved in with us for years. One was my age and we were instantly like two peas in a pod. The other was older than us, tried to boss me around and me having none of that set the tone for our relationship for a while. As for my female cousins… one was in California and whenever I saw her, I followed her around like a puppy. I adored her and everything she did seemed so cool to me. (In short, I drove her nuts.) My other older female cousin moved in with my family during my senior year of high school. I admit, I wasn’t sure what to make of her at first because I was so used to being the only girl among all the boys. But it wasn’t long before I realized how nice it was to have an older sister figure around.

Looking back, I can pinpoint when we all transitioned from being just cousins to cousins and friends. It’s the same time we started to transition from kids to adults. I remember the first weekend I came home from college and my older cousin was at the house waiting for me. You know, that older cousin who tried to boss me around as a child. I was so shocked but after that, we started talking more and hanging out with whenever I was home. With each of my cousins, we’d make plans whether it was the mall, movies or going to each other’s houses. And the older we got, out of those plans traditions were born.

We watched every Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movie in theaters together. Every Christmas we do a Secret Santa exchange. We all have graduated from college and gotten our grown-up jobs. (Well except for the youngest but he’s getting there!) They were the ones who helped me move into my apartment. I’ve watched some of them get married, where we all were either bridesmaids or groomsmen. We’ve become godparents to each other’s kids. Even the distance doesn’t matter. I visited my cousin in California twice last year and she’s in my thoughts constantly.

Rachel from Hello Chelly on Cousins as Best Friends

I really can’t imagine my life any other way. I know this all sounds rare to most people but I can’t say enough how happy I am that this is my normal.

I tried to think of books where cousins are also best friends and the only one I could come up with was Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller. It’s one of my favorites and I love the friendship that blossoms between Callie and Kat. It’s not an easy road for them but they’re really there for each other as family and best friends.

But given that this is the only book I think of, clearly there needs to be more books like this! Can you think of any that I’m missing? We’d love to know! And be sure to check out Rebecca’s DID post on Reading Wishes.

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August 3, 2015 - 1:16 am

Retrospectively Reading (18) | The Reading Shelf - […] “Cousins, Siblings, Friends” @ Rather Be Reading: I am always envious of people with cousin friendships – as someone whose cousins are all older them me, and many of them are decades older than me (they were starting families around the same time my sister and I were born) – so it’s cool to read about someone who has that, no matter how envious I might be. […]

July 31, 2015 - 9:29 am

Hannah @ So Obsessed With - Oh, I adored reading this post! There’s something so special and cool about the fact that y’all are friends AND family. I love that so much! I wish I could think of more books where cousins are best friends (or even siblings as best friends). I feel like I typically read more books with conflict in the family rather than closeness.

July 22, 2015 - 12:16 pm

Alexa S. - I loved reading about you and your cousins, Rachel! I seriously feel the same way about my cousins, particularly on my mom’s side of the family. Moving back to the Philippines had its challenges, but getting to know and love my cousins (first, second and even third) was one of the blessings! I love that I’m really friends with majority of my first cousins, and even friends with some of the seconds. It’s always nice to have family who are also friends, yes? 🙂

July 17, 2015 - 1:52 am

Mara - Loved this post! Where The Stars Still shine is one of my favorites, and I wish I could think of more books with a similar cousin friendship! Will their be more posts on diverse families? I also loved the one on stepfamilies, and would love to find more reads on different types of families!

July 14, 2015 - 10:00 am

Valeria @ A Touch of Book Madness - I love this! I’m very close to my cousins as well, they are all like my sisters (we’re all women). It is so normal to me, that I forget most of the people I know aren’t as close to their extended family. So I loved to see this post! Yay for big united families! And there should be more books about it too. I can’t think of any.

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