November 24, 2013: Cousin, Niece, Sister, Friend...
Angelina came to visit this weekend. It was a quick weekend. Too quick. My sweet cousin has been part of every phase of my lifetime. Eighteen years my junior, the nature of our relationship has many times been confused.
Born in September of 1985. Angelina adorned the world while I was discovering the wonderful world of college life. Before reaching the age of one, Angelina's family moved to LeMars, my college town. I quickly became the chief babysitter of Angelina and her brothers. She was like a daughter to me. And people thought the same as I totted her around on my hip.
I watched Angelina grow into a beautiful and kind young woman. As I started having children, she became my live-in summer nanny. She tenderly cared for the Lane boys; playing on the floor with them and holding them on her lap. People thought she was my niece. Tiring of explaining that her mom was the youngest and mine the oldest and we, the cousins; I just introduced her as my niece.
Angelina moved to the big city of Chicago for college. We missed her, but she visited often with Omaha as a central family spot. On her trips, we always enjoyed runs together and would stay up late catching up. Just like a sister. The little sister I never had.
Post-graduation, Angelina is now in the business world. She lives in the state of Washington and enjoys her young adult life there. We see her less often and miss her terribly. This weekend's trip was last minute and spontaneous.
Rather than waiting for the next big event or a time adequate for an extended vacation, I talked my sweet cousin into a quick random trip. And it was well worth it. We savored every minute of her company. Family and friends came to her and made their shorter trips from outside of Omaha.
Angelina fits comfortably into my group of friends as well. Drinking wine and enjoying conversation, she is a favorite friend.
As far as introductions, I will stick with cousin. But those within our inner circle know the relationship to be much, much more. Thanks for visiting, Ms. Valentino. I am hopeful you are snuggled comfortably back in your own bed. I look forward to the next random trip!