I spoke to Caitlin! I spoke to Caitlin!
I'm...I'm having a hard time holding it together, actually. It feels like my emotions are pulling me, hard, in a dozen different directions.
So, Caitlin is my cousin. She's my Uncle Christophe's daughter from his first marriage.
We've never met. She's forty, I think, although she sounded like she was about twenty-four on the phone.
And I'd never spoken to her. My mother used to remind the kids about her, until I was about eight or nine or so, and we'd talk about her from time to time.
I hoped she had a new family, that her mother had remarried and that there were lots of new aunts and uncles to love her the same way that we had Aunt Barbara & Uncle Christophe, Aunt Sherry & Uncle Phillippe, Aunt Margaret & Uncle Claude, Aunt Barbara & Uncle Thom, Aunt Margie & Uncle Johnny, Aunt Suellen & Uncle Gene, and cousins: Celeste, Jesse, Jamie, Jonathan, me, Mara, Rachael, Mendon, Zayne, Rahmat,
But I wanted to meet her. She was my cousin, after all, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your family.
I'll admit that, quixotically, I used to have little fantasies about finding her and saying, "Hey! We're your cousins! Want to come swimming?" And we'd go swimming and then she'd go home and say: "I spent all day playing with my cousins!" and then some kind of middle step that I never really figured out would happen and then we'd be family again.
And, of course, I'd be the little hero and we'd all be happy.
Well, real life isn't like that. Or maybe it is, all except for the hero part or the we'd all be happy part. Not that I'm not happy, but I am crying. I was so terrified of crying the whole time that I just talked non-stop, like a Thompson machine gun with a stuck trigger. (If you're reading this, Caitlin, I'm sorry!)
She's cool. She's really, really cool.
She's clever. She speaks Java and .jsp and has "machines" instead of "a PC" and is a Mac person deep down at heart - but is really into this MicroSoft powered tablet, because OneNote is just so cool. And I haven't even gotten to the parts that got me all choked up yet. Although, yeah, that did make me a little moist eyed.
So, what had me choked up?
Well, you know that dream about the class that you didn't know you had, and that you'd been accidentally skipping all year and then there's an exam and everyone is like "What? Didn't you study?"
This is like that. I have a cousin that I know deep down in my heart that I love, and she's been my cousin for 35 years but I only just met her!
And the part of me that is still five is like: "This is not fair! I want a do over!" And the part of me that's grown up is like: "Hey, it isn't lucky to know her now?"
And Mommy would have loved her. She's funny, as in snort milk through your nose funny.
So it's bittersweet.
But mostly it's sweet. I'm really happy to have another cool cousin. And I'm going to call her again. Eventually, we'll find out the not cool things about each other. But not yet.