Sunday, March 06, 2011

shirttail relatives

Calvin has a new friend at school. Last night they went to a movie, and today his friend went to baseball camp to be Calvin's catcher. What makes this friendship special is that Calvin and he are distantly related. Very distantly. Here's the deal: My aunt (mom's brother's wife) is a cousin of the kid's grandma. I don't even know if there is a technical term for that kind of relation. Tail of the shirttail maybe? Anyway, Calvin is kind of proud to hang out with his "cousin".

I think the reason Calvin enjoys this connection is because we don't have family in the immediate area. My dad and brother and his family are a hundred miles away, while my aunt and uncle and grandma are a bit closer at sixty miles away. The Hermit's family are all in Michigan and Ohio; one of our nephews is even an attorney in Ireland. I'd love to visit him some time! But there are a lot of families around here that have been here for a long time and have scores of relatives within a stone's throw; Calvin and Starflower's best friends up the road are an example. So finding a connection with someone in the area is probably important to them.

I grew up seeing my first cousins infrequently. They lived in Walla Walla, Washington, St. Augustine, Florida, and Newton, Massachusetts. I barely know them. I have a few second cousins I saw more frequently, but I am not that close to any of the family. So I can totally understand Calvin's enthusiasm at finding someone he is related to, however distantly. :)

6 comments:

Caroline said...

My youngest daughter refers to my oldest daughter's in-laws as the "outlaws". No real relation, but honorary, because they live in town near us and have been very kind to her. Her regular cousins are like yours, 1800 miles away. The "outlaws" grandchildren are hundreds of miles away too.

webb said...

Sometimes you just have to choose your relatives. Mine live far enough away that we don't see them often, but we long ago adopted the two daughters of a college friend, and now their four children. We have lovely, lively children to fill the house with laughter and they get an extra "Aunt and Uncle". Everyone wins - as will in

Susan Maricle said...

Love the words "tail of the shirttail." ! How did they make the discovery? "My mom's aunt is my grandma's cousin" probably doesn't make its way into a conversation easily. :=)

Deb said...

I think "chosen" relatives are the best kind! :)

Susan- I think my aunt mentioned to him that he and Austin were distantly related. My aunt and uncle are big Braham basketball fans and they were at the game at East Central recently. Calvin, Starflower, Austin and a few other of their friends came over to the visitors' side and sat with them! My uncle, by the way, is a first cousin of your former coworker Bonnie. Small world!

David said...

I can related. I grew up with no near relations other than my four-member nuclear family -- all our limited family were in the U.K. and I had no first cousins anyway. I was delighted to become pen pals with a second cousin when I was in my late teens -- she and I are friends on Facebook now. My own children don't see their one set of first cousins, who live in California, nearly often enough, unfortunately.

Penelope said...

Oops, that was really me, not David. We have dueling Google accounts these day.