On the morning of Christmas Eve, the phone rang as I was putting away dishes. It was my cousin Charlie calling from Buenos Aires. Charlie is about 20 years older than me. I met him when I was about five-years –old when he came to visit the USA for the first time. I remember I developed a huge crush on my then-25-year-old cousin. He was charming, funny, sweet, loving, and playful with me. He made me feel like I mattered and I knew he loved me.
Each time we visited Argentina, we stayed at my aunt and uncle’s place, where Charlie lived. When I met his girlfriend, Cindy, who later became his wife, I fell in love with her too. She was kind, beautiful, and always treated me like a princess. Over the years, I became very close to Charlie and Cindy. They were there for me when I lost my mom. They supported me when I was dating Robbie. They were just amazing people that I felt so blessed to have in my life, even if only long-distance. Going back home to California was always difficult for me, even before I had Robbie, because I was always sad to leave Charlie and Cindy behind. They’d cry, I’d cry, and our hearts would break with every good-bye at the airport. While we were away, Cindy and I would write often. They were really like another set of siblings for me.
Then life happened…My mom died. I broke up with Robbie, and I stopped traveling to Buenos Aires. I went from visiting Argentina practically every year for eight years when I was a kid to spending seven years without going. In those seven years, I didn’t forget about my cousins, but I didn’t do a good job of keeping in touch either. When I returned in 1995 for the first time in seven years, I discovered that the closeness I felt with Charlie and Cindy remained intact. It was pretty amazing and pleasantly surprising at the same time. We were able to pick up where we left off and spend quality time together catching up on life.