I walked into my cousin’s house on Thursday and saw my brother first. He took one look at me—a critical once over complete with raised eyebrow—and said, “Do you want my lint brush?”
So much for saying hello.
Thanksgiving dinner was at my cousin’s house in Rhode Island. There were 14 of us there, which was sort of overwhelming at times but also a definite blessing because it meant that it wasn’t just my nuclear family being dysfunctional at home together. Last year was so bad that I swore I wouldn’t do it again----my brother was in top hyper ADD form, my mother was being her worst know-it-all self and my father was barely functional. My family needs buffer space. So when my cousin sent out an invitation for this year’s meal, I almost collapsed in relief.
Still, my father spent the whole day playing with my cousin’s baby son and giving me the occasional “So will we ever have grandchildren?” look. My mother got ahead of herself about Lunchboy and tried to be the center of attention, and my brother refused to drink anything except the bottle of Bordeaux that he brought with him. After all, this is the boy who once showed up 3.5 hours late for Christmas dinner, carrying a huge bag of lobster and steamers from Legal Seafood that he wanted to cook. Immediately. He didn't understand that 1. he'd missed dinner 2. we'd all eaten and 3. seafood for Christmas dinner was the last thing my mother wanted. He got offended by our “You did this why?” response because he'd spent $80 on the food, so we had to cook it and eat it. Such is the way things happen in my parent’s house. So I am very thankful for cousins. Even when they say things like, “I could never live in the city. Where would I put my firepit?”