You know how sometimes, thoughts of a person just weasel their way into your heart and just sort of camp out there for awhile?
Well lately, I’ve been thinking about my cousin, Tor.
My family is tight-knit, quirky, at times embarrassing, and even awkward. But more than anything, we love the heck out of each other. We all live relatively close together, so it has made for countless birthday lunches, holiday feasts, and general hang outs over the years. I have to remember how fortunate we have been…most people don’t get to spend so much time with their extended family.
I don’t much consider Tor my extended family, though. He is my only cousin on my dad’s side of the family, and over the years we’ve definitely been more like siblings. I love him fiercely and unconditionally.
I have tons of silly childhood memories of Tor. In those days, he was mainly my baby brother’s playmate, and they annoyed me to no end. I carried him on my shoulders through most of the Magical Kingdom, snickered as he and Brandon threw plastic frog toys in my Mimi’s Aquanet-ed helmet of hair, and I attempted to act irritated by their little boyishness.
As we got older, however, our relationship began to change.
When I worked as a youth minister while Tor was in high school, I remember him bravely attending a youth group meeting for the first time…waltzing in in that red polo shirt, only to immediately be pounced on by every female in the group. He was fresh meat, and they were all over him. It didn’t take much convincing for him to come back to church after that.
I remember long talks in my Thunderbird.
I remember “Hardcore Tor”, “Rough-landin’ Brandon”, and “Get off the can, Jan!”.
I remember how surprisingly easy it was to convince him to place insects on his tongue in exchange for relatively small amounts of money.
I remember receiving 4 a.m. frantic phone calls about Ouija boards and a mysterious spirit named Rose.
I remember random basset hounds named Elvis.
I remember drunken Monopoly.
I remember new trucks that “aren’t base, bitch!”
I remember cichlids.
I remember him calling my dog “Archibald” because, “what else would Arnie be short for??”.
I remember lots and lots of laughter. Lots and lots of sharing.
I just remember lots and lots, period.
I know that relationships, like most things in life, tend to ebb and flow. We might be ebbing lately, but I will celebrate the day when, once again, we flow.